Proteus mirabilis, a Gram-negative bacterium, is ubiquitous in the environment and is considered as the normal microflora in the human gastrointestinal tract. However, this bacterium is an opportunistic pathogen in humans, often causing urinary tract infections. Moreover, Proteus has been frequently isolated from food animals, including poultry. Whether this bacterium contributes to the foodborne illness in humans is unclear. In this report, P. mirabilis isolates recovered from broilers during housing in the units were characterized, their antimicrobial activity was assayed, and broiler immune response to the soluble proteins was determined. Cecal contents and fecal droppings were treated according to the standard protocol for isolation. Speciation based on biochemical reactions and the antimicrobial activity of the isolates were carried out using commercial kits. Immunoblot was assayed to determine immune status of broilers against P. mirabilis. A total of 10 isolates of P. mirabilis were selected for further characterization. These isolates could grow in pH 6.0 and 1% NaCl conditions. They were resistant to sodium lactate, troleandomycin, rifamycin SV, vancomycin, but sensitive to nalidixic acid, cefotaxime and novobiocin. Moreover, the CTX, ACC, CMY-1, BIC, NDM, VEB, qnrB and qnrD genes were detected by PCR amplification in all isolates. Sera from broilers harboring this bacterium reacted to the P. mirabilis soluble proteins, but not from litter- and age-matched P. mirabilis negative and SPF chickens, indicating that this bacterium infected chickens that could have humoral immune response against P. mirabilis. This study provides a rationale for further monitoring P. mirabilis during poultry production to determine whether this bacterium poses potential threats to public health.
J. Food Sci. (Journal of food science)
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