Microb Drug Resist. 2021 Apr 29. doi: 10.1089/mdr.2020.0542. Online ahead of print.
The populations of extended-spectrum β-lactamase-producing Escherichia coli (ESBL-EC) have increasingly disseminated in humans, animals, and the environment. This study aimed to determine the prevalence, antimicrobial susceptibilities, and molecular characteristics of ESBL-EC isolates obtained from vegetable farm soil. In total, 200 soil samples were collected from vegetable farms in Incheon, South Korea, between 2018 and 2019 and cultured on MacConkey screening plates supplemented with 2 μg/mL cefotaxime. Cefotaxime-resistant ESBL-EC isolates were recovered from 4.0% (8/200) of the soil samples. All eight isolates were nonsusceptible to ampicillin, piperacillin, cefazolin, cefotaxime, and cefepime and harbored blaCTX-M-type ESBL genes, including blaCTX-M-15 (50.0%), blaCTX-M-55 (25.0%), and blaCTX-M-14 (25.0%). Phylogenetic analysis showed that the B1 lineage was predominant (75.0%), followed by A (12.5%) and B2 (12.5%) lineages. Multilocus sequence typing revealed eight different E. coli sequence types (STs), including ST10, ST73, ST155, ST847, ST2521, ST3285, ST5173, and ST9479. Notably, ST10 and ST73 belong to the global extraintestinal pathogenic E. coli lineages. Our findings demonstrated that the farm soil environment may serve as a reservoir of human-associated multidrug-resistant ESBL-producing pathogens.