Introduction: The toxinotyping and antimicrobial susceptibility of Clostridium perfringens strains isolated from processed chicken meat were determined.
Material and Methods: Two hundred processed chicken meat samples from luncheon meats, nuggets, burgers, and sausages were screened for Clostridium perfringens by multiplex PCR assay for the presence of alpha (cpa), beta (cpb), epsilon (etx), iota (ia), and enterotoxin toxin (cpe) genes. The C. perfringens isolates were examined in vitro against eight antibiotics (streptomycin, amoxicillin, ampicillin, ciprofloxacin, lincomycin, cefotaxime, rifampicin, and trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole)
Results: An overall of 32 C. perfringens strains (16%) were isolated from 200 processed chicken meat samples tested. The prevalence of C. perfringens was significantly dependent on the type of toxin genes detected (P = 0.0), being the highest in sausages (32%), followed by luncheon meats (24%), burgers (6%), and nuggets (2%). C. perfringens type A was the most frequently present toxinotype (24/32; 75%), followed by type D (21.9 %) and type E (3.1%). Of the 32 C. perfringens strains tested, only 9 (28%) were enterotoxin gene carriers, with most representing type A (n = 6). C. perfringens strains differed in their resistance/susceptibility to commonly used antibiotics. Most of the strains tested were sensitive to ampicillin (97%) and amoxicillin (94%), with 100% of the strains being resistant to streptomycin and lincomycin. It is noteworthy that the nine isolates with enterotoxigenic potential had a higher resistance than the non-enterotoxigenic ones.
Conclusion: The considerably high C. perfringens isolation rates from processed chicken meat samples and resistance to some of the commonly used antibiotics indicate a potential public health risk. Recent information about the isolation of enterotoxigenic C. perfringens type E from chicken sausage has been reported.