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Antimicrobial resistance genes in raw milk for human consumption

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The increasing prevalence of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a significant threat to global health. More and more multi-drug-resistant bacterial strains cause life-threatening infections and the death of thousands of people each year. Beyond disease control animals are often given antibiotics for growth promotion or increased feed efficiency, which further increase the chance of the development of multi-resistant strains. After the consumption of unprocessed animal products, these strains may meet the human bacteriota. Among the foodborne and the human populations, antimicrobial resistance genes (ARGs) may be shared by horizontal gene transfer. This study aims to test the presence of antimicrobial resistance genes in milk metagenome, investigate their genetic position and their linkage to mobile genetic elements. We have analyzed raw milk samples from public markets sold for human consumption. The milk samples contained genetic material from various bacterial species and the in-depth analysis uncovered the presence of several antimicrobial resistance genes. The samples contained complete ARGs influencing the effectiveness of acridine dye, cephalosporin, cephamycin, fluoroquinolone, penam, peptide antibiotics and tetracycline. One of the ARGs, PC1 beta-lactamase may also be a mobile element that facilitates the transfer of resistance genes to other bacteria, e.g. to the ones living in the human gut.