Assessing the drug resistance profiles of oral probiotic lozenges

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Background: Probiotic lozenges have been developed to harvest the benefits of probiotics for oral health, but their long-term consumption may encourage the transfer of resistance genes from probiotics to commensals, and eventually to disease-causing bacteria. Aim: To screen commercial probiotic lozenges for resistance to antibiotics, characterize the resistance determinants, and examine their transferability in vitro. Results: Probiotics of all lozenges were resistant to glycopeptide, sulfonamide, and penicillin antibiotics, while some were resistant to aminoglycosides and cephalosporins. High minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) were detected for streptomycin (>128 µg/mL) and chloramphenicol (> 512 µg/mL) for all probiotics but only one was resistant to piperacillin (MIC = 32 µg/mL). PCR analysis detected erythromycin (erm(T), ermB or mefA) and fluoroquinolone (parC or gyr(A)) resistance genes in some lozenges although there were no resistant phenotypes. The dfrD, cat-TC, vatE, aadE, vanX, and aph(3”)-III or ant(2”)-I genes conferring resistance to trimethoprim, chloramphenicol, quinupristin/dalfopristin, vancomycin, and streptomycin, respectively, were detected in resistant probiotics. The rifampicin resistance gene rpoB was also present. We found no conjugal transfer of streptomycin resistance genes in our co-incubation experiments. Conclusion: Our study represents the first antibiotic resistance profiling of probiotics from oral lozenges, thus highlighting the health risk especially in the prevailing threat of drug resistance globally.

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Journal of Oral Microbiology



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