Genetic variation among Staphylococcus aureus strains from Norwegian bulk milk

H. J. Jørgensen*, T. Mørk, D. A. Caugant, Angela Kearns, L. M. Rørvik

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

95 Citations (Scopus)


Strains of Staphylococcus aureus obtained from bovine (n = 117) and caprine (n = 114) bulk milk were characterized and compared with S. aureus strains from raw-milk products (n = 27), bovine mastitis specimens (n = 9), and human blood cultures (n = 39). All isolates were typed by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE). In addition, subsets of isolates were characterized using multilocus sequence typing (MLST), multiplex PCR (m-PCR) for genes encoding nine of the staphylococcal enterotoxins (SE), and the cloverleaf method for penicillin resistance. A variety of genotypes were observed, and greater genetic diversity was found among bovine than caprine bulk milk isolates. Certain genotypes, with a wide geographic distribution, were common to bovine and caprine bulk milk and may represent ruminant-specialized S. aureus. Isolates with genotypes indistinguishable from those of strains from ruminant mastitis were frequently found in bulk milk, and strains with genotypes indistinguishable from those from bulk milk were observed in raw-milk products. This indicates that S. aureus from infected udders may contaminate bulk milk and, subsequently, raw-milk products. Human blood culture isolates were diverse and differed from isolates from other sources. Genotyping by PFGE, MLST, and m-PCR for SE genes largely corresponded. In general, isolates with indistinguishable PFGE banding patterns had the same SE gene profile and isolates with identical SE gene profiles were placed together in PFGE clusters. Phylogenetic analyses agreed with the division of MLST sequence types into clonal complexes, and isolates within the same clonal complex had the same SE gene profile. Furthermore, isolates within PFGE clusters generally belonged to the same clonal complex.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8352-8361
Number of pages10
JournalApplied and Environmental Microbiology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2005


Dive into the research topics of 'Genetic variation among Staphylococcus aureus strains from Norwegian bulk milk'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this