The aim of this study was to analyze by PCR 185 isolates of Staphylococcus from milk of cows with- and without mastitis and from the cowsheds environment for their potential ability to produce five classical staphylococcal enterotoxins. Among S. aureus isolates 8 (32%) carried enterotoxin genes and only 2 of them had more than one gene. The enterotoxin genes were detected in 22 (13.7%) coagulase-negative staphylococci (CNS) isolates, among them in 9 (11.4%) isolates of S. xylosus, 5 (16.7%) S. sciuri, 3 (10.3%) S. epidermidis and in 5 (22.7%) Staphylococcus spp. In some CNS 2 or 3 genes were detected simultaneously. Among the investigated enterotoxin genes, sec was the most prevalent (70%). The genes encoding enterotoxin B and D were detected in 5 (16.7%) and 6 (20%) isolates, respectively. The lowest number of isolates had sea and see genes.
The genes encoding enterotoxins were often identified in staphylococci from milk of cows with mastitis (73.4% of detected genes), while only 6 (20%) isolates from milk of cows without mastitis and 2 (6.6%) isolates from cowshed environment were positive for enterotoxin genes.
The results showed that CNS from bovine milk, like S. aureus, carried enterotoxin genes and may pose a risk for public health.
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