Prolonged treatment of Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium with commercial disinfectants selects for multiple antibiotic resistance, increased efflux and reduced invasiveness

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


  • KA Karatzas
  • F Jorgensen
  • MJ Woodward
  • TJ Humphrey

Colleges, School and Institutes


OBJECTIVES: To study how disinfectants affect antimicrobial susceptibility and phenotype of Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium SL1,344. METHODS: Wild-type strain SL1,344 and its isogenic gyrA mutant were passaged daily for 7 days in subinhibitory concentrations, and separately for 16 days in gradually increasing concentrations of a quaternary ammonium disinfectant containing formaldehyde and glutaraldehyde (QACFG), an oxidizing compound blend (OXC), a phenolic tar acids-based disinfectant (TOP) and triclosan. The MICs of antimicrobials and antibiotics for populations and representative isolates and the proportion of cells resistant to the MICs for the wild-type were determined. Expression of acrB gene, growth at 37 degrees C and invasiveness of populations in Caco-2 intestinal epithelial cells were assessed. RESULTS: QACFG and triclosan showed the highest selectivity for variants with reduced susceptibility to chloramphenicol, tetracycline, ampicillin, acriflavine and triclosan. Populations treated with the above biocides had reduced invasiveness in Caco-2 cells, and altered growth kinetics. Resistance to disinfectants was observed only after exposure to gradually increasing concentrations of triclosan, accompanied with a 2000-fold increase in its MIC. Growth in OXC and TOP did not affect the MICs of antibiotics, but resulted in the appearance of a proportion of cells resistant to the MIC of acriflavine and triclosan for the wild-type. Randomly selected stable variants from all populations, except the one treated with TOP, over-expressed acrB. CONCLUSIONS: In vitro exposure to QACFG and triclosan selects for Salmonella Typhimurium cells with reduced susceptibility to several antibiotics. This is associated with overexpression of AcrAB efflux pump, but accompanied with reduced invasiveness.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)947-55
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy
Issue number5
Early online date17 Sep 2007
Publication statusPublished - 17 Sep 2007


  • quaternary ammonium, triclosan, AcrAB