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Is caretta caretta a carrier of antibiotic resistance in the mediterranean sea?

  • Autori: Alduina R.; Gambino D.; Presentato A.; Gentile A.; Sucato A.; Savoca D.; Filippello S.; Visconti G.; Caracappa G.; Vicari D.; Arculeo M.
  • Anno di pubblicazione: 2020
  • Tipologia: Articolo in rivista
  • Parole Chiave: Antibiotic resistance Caretta caretta Mediterranean Sea; Antimicrobials; Caretta caretta; Heavy metal resistance; Loggerhead sea turtle; Mediterranean Sea; Mobile element
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Sea turtles can be considered a sentinel species for monitoring the health of marine ecosystems, acting, at the same time, as a carrier of microorganisms. Indeed, sea turtles can acquire the microbiota from their reproductive sites and feeding, contributing to the diffusion of antibiotic-resistant strains to uncontaminated environments. This study aims to unveil the presence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in (i) loggerhead sea turtles stranded along the coast of Sicily (Mediterranean Sea), (ii) unhatched and/or hatched eggs, (iii) sand from the turtles’ nest and (iv) seawater. Forty-four bacterial strains were isolated and identified by conventional biochemical tests and 16S rDNA sequencing. The Gram-negative Aeromonas and Vibrio species were mainly found in sea turtles and seawater samples, respectively. Conversely, the Gram-positive Bacillus, Streptococcus, and Staphylococcus strains were mostly isolated from eggs and sand. The antimicrobial resistance profile of the isolates revealed that these strains were resistant to cefazolin (95.5%), streptomycin (43.2%), colistin and amoxicillin/clavulanic acid (34.1%). Moreover, metagenome analysis unveiled the presence of both antibiotic and heavy metal resistance genes, as well as the mobile element class 1 integron at an alarming percentage rate. Our results suggest that Caretta caretta could be considered a carrier of antibiotic-resistant genes.