Exposure to quaternary ammonium compounds selects resistance to ciprofloxacin in listeria monocytogenes


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22 Citations (Scopus)


In this contribution, the antimicrobial susceptibility toward 11 antibiotics and four biocides of a panel of 205 Listeria monocytogenes (Lm) strains isolated from different ecological niches (i.e., food, animals and natural environment) was evaluated. The impact of exposure to biocides on the antibiotic susceptibilities of Lm was also investigated. Lm strains isolated from food exhib-ited overall a lower susceptibility (higher minimal inhibitory concentrations, MIC) for ammonium quaternary compounds (QACs) and peracetic acid (PAC) than strains isolated from animals and natural environments. Conversely, the ecological origins of Lm strains did not significantly affect their susceptibilities towards antibiotics. Interestingly, repeated exposure to QACs recurrently led to a decrease in susceptibility toward ciprofloxacin (CIP), a fluoroquinolone antibiotic, largely used in human medicine. Moreover, these lower levels of susceptibility to CIP remained stable in most Lm strains even after subcultures without biocide selection pressure, suggesting an adaptation involving modifications at the genetic level. Results underlined the ability of Lm to adapt to biocides, especially QACs, and the potential link between this adaptation and the selection of resistance toward critical antibiotics such as ciprofloxacin. These data support a potential role of the extensive use of QACs from “farm to fork” in the selection of biocide and antibiotic resistance in pathogenic bacteria such as Lm.

Original languageEnglish
Article number220
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Antimicrobial resistance
  • Bacterial adaptation
  • Benza-lkonium chloride
  • Biocides
  • Ciprofloxacin
  • Didecyl dimethylammonium chloride
  • Listeria monocytogenes


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