Commonly used farm disinfectants can select for mutant Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium with decreased susceptibility to biocides and antibiotics without compromising virulence

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


  • LP Randall
  • SW Cooles
  • NG Coldham
  • EG Penuela
  • AC Mott
  • MJ Woodward

Colleges, School and Institutes


OBJECTIVES: To determine if one passage of Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium in the presence of farm disinfectants selected for mutants with decreased susceptibility to disinfectants and/or antibiotics. METHODS: Eight Salmonella Typhimurium strains including field isolates and laboratory mutants were exposed to either a tar oil phenol (PFD) disinfectant, an oxidizing compound disinfectant (OXC), an aldehyde based disinfectant (ABD) or a dairy sterilizer disinfectant (based on quaternary ammonium biocide) in agar. The susceptibility of mutants obtained after disinfectant exposure to antibiotics and disinfectants was determined as was the accumulation of norfloxacin. The proteome of SL1344 after exposure to PFD and OXC was analysed using two-dimensional liquid chromatography mass spectrometry. RESULTS: Strains with either acrB or tolC inactivated were more susceptible to most disinfectants than other strains. The majority (3/5) of mutants recovered after disinfectant exposure required statistically significantly longer exposure times to disinfectants than their parent strains to generate a 5 log kill. Small decreases in antibiotic susceptibility were observed but no mutants were multiply antibiotic-resistant (MAR). Notably exposure to ABD decreased susceptibility to ciprofloxacin in some strains. Mutants with increased disinfectant tolerance were able to survive and persist in chicks as well as in parent strains. Analysis of proteomes revealed significantly increased expression of the AcrAB-TolC efflux system after PFD exposure. CONCLUSIONS: Data presented demonstrate that efflux pumps are required for intrinsic resistance to some disinfectants and that exposure to disinfectants can induce expression of the AcrAB-TolC efflux system, but that single exposure was insufficient to select for MAR strains.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1273-80
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy
Issue number6
Early online date3 Oct 2007
Publication statusPublished - 3 Oct 2007


  • biocide resistance, proteomics, MAR, efflux