Genomic insights into antimicrobial resistant Salmonella in internationally traded chicken meat: First baseline findings in the United Arab Emirates

Ihab Habib, Afra Abdalla, Mohamed Yousif Ibrahim Mohamed, Akela Ghazawi, Mushtaq Khan, Mohammed Elbediwi, Febin Anes, Glindya Bhagya Lakshmi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Non-typhoidal Salmonella is among the most prevalent foodborne zoonoses, challenging food safety and One Health worldwide. A dearth of knowledge exists regarding non-typhoidal Salmonella prevalence and genomic features within the United Arab Emirates (UAE), one of the top markets in chicken meat consumption worldwide. In this study, Salmonella was detected in 16 out of 254 (6.30 %, 95 % confidence interval: 3.64 %, 10.03 %) samples of imported frozen chicken carcasses sampled from UAE retails. Among the recovered serotypes, S. Minnesota; ST 548 (10/16) emerged as the most prevalent, trailed by S. Heidelberg; ST 15 (4/16), and then S. Kentucky; ST 198, and ST 152 (2/16). Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) was most prevalent against tetracycline (93.7 %), followed by ampicillin (68.7 %), and extended-spectrum cephalosporins (ceftriaxone and cefoxitin) (56.2 %); with 68.7 % (11/16) of the isolates classified as multidrug resistant (MDR). Whole-genome sequencing (WGS) analysis revealed the existence of 14 AMR genes, among which the blaCMY-2, an AmpC cephalosporinases resistance gene, presented in 10 of the 16 isolates. Among the ten out of the eleven MDR Salmonella isolates, both IncC and Col(pHAD28) plasmid incompatibility types were concurrently featured. The range of virulence genes varied from 149 to 165 genes, with an average of 168 genes per isolate. Except for one isolate, all other isolates possessed type III secretion system (TTSS) related genes known to be encoded by the Salmonella pathogenicity island-1 (SPI-1). This study contributes to our global understanding of Salmonella epidemiology, specifically focusing on the Middle East. The insights gained from this study are significant in shaping import risk analyses aimed at mitigating Salmonella exposure risks through globally traded chicken. The research underscores the value of WGS as a crucial tool for substantiating evidence-based food safety hazard assessment.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101237
JournalJournal of Agriculture and Food Research
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2024


  • Antibiotic resistance
  • Chicken
  • Genomic characterization
  • Salmonella
  • UAE

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)


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