A Comparative Study on Antimicrobial Resistance in Escherichia coli Isolated from Channel Catfish and Related Freshwater Fish Species

Yesutor K. Soku, Abdelrahman Mohamed, Temesgen Samuel, Uday Dessai, Isabel Walls, Catherine Rockwell, Gamola Fortenberry, Tracy Berutti, Sharon Nieves-Miranda, Erin M. Nawrocki, Yezhi Fu, Edward Dudley, Stephen W. Mamber, John Hicks, Benjamin H. Beck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


There are concerns of fish species becoming a pool for antimicrobial resistance (AMR). Therefore, AMR trends in 114 generic Escherichia coli isolated from channel catfish and related fish species were investigated in this study. Of these, 45 isolates were from commercial-sized channel catfish harvested from fishponds in Alabama, while 69 isolates were from Siluriformes products, accessed from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service’ (FSIS) National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (NARMS) program. Antibiotic susceptibility testing and whole-genome sequencing were performed using the GenomeTrakr protocol. Upon analysis, the fishpond isolates showed resistance to ampicillin (44%), meropenem (7%), and azithromycin (4%). The FSIS NARMS isolates showed resistance to tetracycline (31.9%), chloramphenicol (20.3%), sulfisoxazole (17.4%), ampicillin (5.8%), and trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, nalidixic acid, amoxicillin-clavulanic acid, azithromycin, and cefoxitin below 5% each. There was no correlation between genotypic and phenotypic resistance in the fishpond isolates; however, there was in NARMS isolates for folate pathway antagonists: Sulfisoxazole vs. sul1 and sul2 (p = 0.0042 and p < 0.0001, respectively) and trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole vs. dfrA16 and sul1 (p = 0.0290 and p = 0.013, respectively). Furthermore, correlations were found for tetracyclines: Tetracycline vs. tet(A) and tet(B) (p < 0.0001 each), macrolides: Azithromycin vs. mph(E) and msr(E) (p = 0.0145 each), phenicols: Chloramphenicol vs. mdtM (p < 0.0001), quinolones: Nalidixic acid vs. gyrA_S83L=POINT (p = 0.0004), and β-lactams: Ampicillin vs. blaTEM-1 (p < 0.0001). Overall, the finding of generic E. coli reveals compromised sanitary and hygienic measures at farm and plant levels while the occurrence of resistance to critically important antimicrobials calls for more surveillance to alleviate any public health concern.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100192
JournalJournal of food protection
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Food Science
  • Microbiology

Cite this