Selection and transfer of an IncI1-tet(A) plasmid of Escherichia coli in an ex vivo model of the porcine caecum at doxycycline concentrations caused by crosscontaminated feed.
BACKGROUND Cross-contamination of feed with low concentrations of antimicrobials can occur at production, transport and/or farm level. Concerns are rising about possible effects of this contaminated feed on resistance selection in the intestinal microbiota. Therefore, an experiment with pigs was set up, in which intestinal and fecal concentrations of chlortetracycline (CTC), doxycycline (DOX) and sulfadiazine-trimethoprim (SDZ-TRIM) were determined after administration of feed containing a 3 % carry-over level of these antimicrobials. RESULTS The poor oral bioavailability of tetracyclines resulted in rather high concentrations in cecal and colonic content and feces at steady-state conditions. A mean concentration of 10 mg/kg CTC and 4 mg/kg DOX in the feces was reached, which is higher than concentrations that were shown to cause resistance selection. On the other hand, lower mean levels of SDZ (0.7 mg/kg) and TRIM (< limit of detection of 0.016 mg/kg) were found in the feces, corresponding with the high oral bioavailability of SDZ and TRIM in pigs. CONCLUSIONS The relation between the oral bioavailability and intestinal concentrations of the tested antimicrobials, may be of help in assessing the risks of cross-contaminated feed. However, future research is needed to confirm our results and to evaluate the effects of these detected concentrations on resistance selection in the intestinal microbiota of pigs.