Enumeration, Antimicrobial Resistance, and Virulence Genes Screening of Enterococcus spp. Isolated from Retail Chicken Carcasses in the United Arab Emirates

Ihab Habib, Glindya Bhagya Lakshmi, Mohamed Yousif Ibrahim Mohamed, Akela Ghazawi, Mushtaq Khan, Dan Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Enterococci have recently emerged as nosocomial pathogens worldwide. Their ubiquitous nature determines their frequent finding in foods as contaminants. In this study, we aimed to determine the counts, species diversity, antimicrobial resistance profile, and to screen for a set of virulence genes among enterococci. Enterococcus were identified from 75.7% (125/165) of chilled chicken carcasses, belonging to seven companies, sampled from retail markets in Abu Dhabi Emirate, United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.). Overall, the samples, with a mean Enterococcus count of 2.58 log10 colony-forming unit (CFU)/g with a standard deviation of ±1.17 log10 CFU/g. Among the characterized Enterococcus isolates (n = 90), Enterococcus faecalis was the predominant species (51.1%), followed by Enterococcus faecium (37.8%). Using Vitek2 automated antimicrobial sensitivity panel, we found none of the E. faecalis nor E. faecium to be resistant to ampicillin, teicoplanin, vancomycin, or tigecycline. A third of the E. faecalis (28.3%) and E. faecium (35.3%) were resistant to high-level gentamicin. Over half of E. faecalis (54.3%) were resistant to ciprofloxacin, and the same was in about a third of E. faecium isolates (29.4%). Linezolid resistance was identified in 10 E. faecalis and 7 E. faecium isolates belonging to samples from three companies. All of the linezolid-resistant isolates harbored oxazolidinone resistance optrA gene. Virulence-associated genes (asa1 and gelE) were significantly (p < 0.05) more detected among E. faecalis compared to E. faecium isolates recovered in this study. Over half of the E. faecalis (25/46) and E. faecium (20/34) isolates were identified as multidrug-resistant. This study provides further insight into virulence genes and their association with the dissemination of multidrug-resistant E. faecalis and E. faecium in supermarket chicken meat in the U.A.E. This is probably the first description of the optrA gene in enterococci from supermarket chicken meat in the U.A.E. and from Arab countries. This study adds to the regional and global understanding of antimicrobial resistance spread in foods of animal origin.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)590-597
Number of pages8
JournalFoodborne Pathogens and Disease
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 1 2022


  • U.A.E
  • enterococci
  • linezolid
  • multidrug resistance
  • poultry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Food Science
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Animal Science and Zoology


Dive into the research topics of 'Enumeration, Antimicrobial Resistance, and Virulence Genes Screening of Enterococcus spp. Isolated from Retail Chicken Carcasses in the United Arab Emirates'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this