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Communication

Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria in Hydroponic Lettuce in Retail: A Comparative Survey

Department of Science, School of Science and Technology, The Open University of Hong Kong, Ho Man Tin, Hong Kong
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Foods 2020, 9(9), 1327; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods9091327
Received: 22 August 2020 / Revised: 12 September 2020 / Accepted: 18 September 2020 / Published: 21 September 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microbiological Safety and Quality of Food)
Hydroponic produce is gaining popularity due to its suitability for urban agriculture. The general public also considers that hydroponic produce is free from microbiological contamination. In this study, we compared the frequency and abundance of tetracycline-resistant and sulphadiazine-resistant bacteria and the minimal inhibitory concentration (MIC) of these isolates in conventional, organic, and hydroponic lettuce sold in retail. We also determined the frequency of samples carrying tetB, tetX, sul1, sul2, and int1 genes by PCR and further quantified the copy number of tetX, sul1, and int1 genes in samples positive for these genes using qPCR. As expected, the number of resistant bacteria and the MICs of these isolates were lowest in hydroponic lettuce and highest in organic lettuce. All tested resistant genes, except int1, were detected in samples of all three production methods, but no significant difference was observed between the three groups in the frequency of samples carrying the resistance genes examined or in their copy number. To the best of our knowledge, it is the first study directly reporting the existence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and resistance genes in hydroponic vegetables sold in retail. The result highlights that the risk of antibiotic-resistant bacteria contamination in hydroponic produce should be further investigated. View Full-Text
Keywords: hydroponic produce; organic produce; lettuce; antibiotic-resistant bacteria; antibiotic resistance gene; urban agriculture; sustainability; tetracycline; sulphadiazine hydroponic produce; organic produce; lettuce; antibiotic-resistant bacteria; antibiotic resistance gene; urban agriculture; sustainability; tetracycline; sulphadiazine
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MDPI and ACS Style

Lam, K.-L.; Kong, W.-P.; Ling, P.-Y.; Lau, T.-H.; Ho, K.-H.; Lee, F.W.-F.; Chan, P.-L. Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria in Hydroponic Lettuce in Retail: A Comparative Survey. Foods 2020, 9, 1327. https://doi.org/10.3390/foods9091327

AMA Style

Lam K-L, Kong W-P, Ling P-Y, Lau T-H, Ho K-H, Lee FW-F, Chan P-L. Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria in Hydroponic Lettuce in Retail: A Comparative Survey. Foods. 2020; 9(9):1327. https://doi.org/10.3390/foods9091327

Chicago/Turabian Style

Lam, Kit-Ling; Kong, Wai-Po; Ling, Po-Yi; Lau, Tsz-Ho; Ho, Kin-Hang; Lee, Fred W.-F.; Chan, Ping-Lung. 2020. "Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria in Hydroponic Lettuce in Retail: A Comparative Survey" Foods 9, no. 9: 1327. https://doi.org/10.3390/foods9091327

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