• Phenotypic and genotypic characterisation of antimicrobial resistance in Escherichia coli indicator of animal, food and human origin.
  • Massella, Elisa <1988>


  • VET/04 Ispezione degli alimenti di origine animale


  • This thesis presents AMR phenotypic evaluation and whole genome sequencing analysis of 288 Escherichia coli strains isolated from different sources (livestock, companion animal, wildlife, food and human) in Italy. Our data reflects general resistance trends in Europe, reporting tetracycline, ampicillin, sulfisoxazole and aminoglycosides resistance as the most common phenotypic AMR profile among livestock, pets, wildlife and humans. Identification of human and animal (livestock and companion animal) AMR profiles in niches with a rare (fishery, mollusc) or absent (vegetable, wild animal, wild boar) direct exposure to antimicrobials, suggests widespread environmental pollution with ARGs conferring resistance to these antimicrobials. Phenotypic resistance to highest priority critically important antimicrobials was mainly observed in food-producing animals and related food such as rabbit, poultry, beef and swine. Discrepancies between AMR phenotypic pattern and genetic profile were observed. In particular, phenotypic aminoglycoside, cephalosporin, meropenem, colistin resistance and ESBL profile did not have a genetic explanation in different cases. This data could suggest the diffusion of new genetic variants of ARGs, associated to these antimicrobial classes. Generally, our collection shows a virulence profile typical of extraintestinal pathogenic Escherichia coli (ExPEC) pathotype. Different pandemic and emerging ExPEC lineages were identified, in particular in poultry meat (ST10; ST23; ST69, ST117; ST131). Rabbit was suggested as a source of ST20-ST40 potential hybrid pathogens. Wildlife carried a high average number (10) of VAGs (mostly associated to ExPEC pathotype) and different predominant ExPEC lineages (ST23, ST117, ST648), suggesting its possible involvement in maintenance and diffusion of virulence determinants. In conclusion, our study provides important knowledge related to the phenotypic/genetic AMR and virulence profiles circulating in E. coli in Italy. The role of different niches in AMR dynamics has been discussed. In particular, food-producing animals are worthy of continued investigation as a source of potential zoonotic pathogens, meanwhile wildlife might contribute to VAGs spread.


  • 2020-03-18
  • info:eu-repo/date/embargoEnd/2023-01-08


  • Doctoral Thesis
  • PeerReviewed


  • application/pdf



Massella, Elisa (2020) Phenotypic and genotypic characterisation of antimicrobial resistance in Escherichia coli indicator of animal, food and human origin., [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Scienze veterinarie , 32 Ciclo.