Effect of Stress-Adaptation on Antibiotic Sensitivity Profiles of Campylobacter jejuni


Campylobacter jejuni is one of the leading causes of human gastroenteritis. Campylobacter jejuni requires special conditions and media in the laboratory for its growth. In nature, however, this organism is able to survive in very diverse and hostile environments and produce disease in humans and animals. The different mechanisms by which C. jejuni survives stressful conditions in the environment still remain unclear. Stress-adaptation may be one of the factors helping this organism to survive stresses. Some C. jejuni strains have been found to have increased antibiotic resistance in last several years. To determine the effect of acid adaptation on the antibiotic sensitivity profile of C. jejuni, 4 different isolates of C. jejuni (a human isolate and 3 poultry isolates) were exposed to an acid pH of 5.5 and then rechallenged with different stresses. The antibiotic sensitivity profiles of C. jejuni after stress-adaptation were compared with antibiotic sensitivity profiles of non-stressed C. jejuni using the Kirby Bauer agar disc diffusion assay. The antibiotic sensitivity profiles of the C. jejuni isolates used in this study were found to change when the acidadapted bacteria were subjected to further stresses such as an acidic pH of 4.5, aerobic atmosphere and starvation. In the majority of the cases, antibiotic-resistant C. jejuni isolates were found to be more sensitive to antibiotics after stress-adaptation, but in a few cases C. jejuni showed increased resistance. These results indicate that increasing various stresses in a sequential pattern may, in some cases, reduce antibiotic resistance of C. jejuni isolates.

Share and Cite:

G. Kumar-Phillips, I. Hanning and M. Slavik, "Effect of Stress-Adaptation on Antibiotic Sensitivity Profiles of Campylobacter jejuni," Advances in Microbiology, Vol. 3 No. 1, 2013, pp. 76-82. doi: 10.4236/aim.2013.31012.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] R. L. Scharff, “Economic Burden from Health Losses Due to Foodborne Illness in the United States,” Journal of Food Protection, Vol. 75, No. 1, 2012, pp. 123-131. doi:10.4315/0362-028X.JFP-11-058
[2] M. J. Blaser and J. Engberg, “Clinical Aspects of Campylobacter jejuni and Campylobacter coli Infections,” In: I. Nachamkin, C. M. Szymanski and M. J. Blaser, Eds., Campylobacter, 3rd Edition, ASM Press, Washington DC, 2008, pp. 99-121.
[3] W. Jacobs-Reitsma, “Campylobacter in the Food Supply,” In: I. Nachamkin and M. J. Blaser, Eds., Campylobacter, 2nd Edition, American Society for Microbiology, Washington DC, 2000, pp. 467-481.
[4] J. E. L. Corry and H. I. Atabay, “Poultry as a Source of Campylobacter and Related Organisms,” Journal of Applied Microbiology, Vol. 90, No. S6, 2001, pp. 96S-114S. doi:10.1046/j.1365-2672.2001.01358.x
[5] R. Black, M. Levine, M. Clements, T. Hughes and M. Blaser, “Experimental Campylobacter jejuni Infection in Humans,” Journal of Infectious Disease, Vol. 157, No. 3, 1988, pp. 472-479. doi:10.1093/infdis/157.3.472
[6] T. Humphrey, S. O’Brien and M. Madsen, “Campylobacters as Zoonotic Pathogens: A Food Production Perspective,” International Journal of Food Microbiology, Vol. 117, No. 3, 2007, pp. 237-257. doi:10.1016/j.ijfoodmicro.2007.01.006
[7] F. Poly, D. Threadgill and A. Stinzi, “Genomic Diversity in Campylobacter jejuni: Identification of C. jejuni 81 -176 specific Genes,” Journal of Clinical Microbiology, Vol. 43, No. 5, 2005, pp. 2330-2338. doi:10.1128/JCM.43.5.2330-2338.2005
[8] B. Melero, P. Juntunen, M. L. Hanninen, I. Jaime and J. Rovira, “Tracing Campylobacter jejuni Strains along the Poultry Meat Production Chain from Farm to Retail by Pulsed-Field Gel Electrophoresis and the Antimicrobial Resistance of Isolates,” Food Microbiology, Vol. 32, No. 1, 2012, pp. 124-128. doi:10.1016/j.fm.2012.04.020
[9] B. Garin, M. Gouali, M. Wouafo, A. M. Perchec, P. M. Thu, N. Ravaonindrina, F. Urbès, M. Gay, A. Diawara, A. Leclercq, J. Rocourt and R. Pouillot, “Prevalence, Quantification and Antimicrobial Resistance of Campylobacter spp. on Chicken Neck-Skins at Points of Slaughter in 5 Major Cities Located on 4 Continents,” International Journal of Food Microbiology, Vol. 157, No. 1, 2012, pp. 102-107.
[10] A. E. Yousef and P. D. Courtney, “Basics of Stress Adaptation and Implications in New-Generation Foods,” In: A. E. Yousef and V. K. Juneja, Eds., Microbial Stress Adaptation and Food Safety, CRC Press LLC, Boca Raton, 2003, pp. 1-30.
[11] B. Ray and A. Bhunia, “Fundamental Food Microbiology,” 4th Edition, Taylor & Francis Group, New York, 2008.
[12] C. Murphy, C. Carroll and K. N. Jordan, “Induction of an Adaptive Tolerance Response in the Foodborne Pathogen Campylobacter jejuni,” FEMS Microbiology Letters, Vol. 223, No. 1, 2003, pp. 89-93. doi:10.1016/S0378-1097(03)00348-3
[13] Y. Ma, I. Hanning and M. Slavik, “Stress-Induced Adaptive Tolerance Response and Virulence Gene Expression in Campylobacter jejuni,” Journal of Food Safety, Vol. 29, No. 1, 2009, pp. 126-143. doi:10.1111/j.1745-4565.2008.00147.x
[14] G. Storz and R. Hengge-Aronis, “Bacterial Stress Responses,” ASM Press, Washington DC, 2000.
[15] K. Poole, “Bacterial Stress Responses as Determinants of Antimicrobial Resistance,” Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, Vol. 67, No. 9, 2012, pp. 2069-2089.
[16] M. A. S. Mc Mahon, I. S. Blair, J. E. Moore and D. A. Mc Dowell, “The Rate of Horizontal Transmission of Antibiotic Resistance Plasmids Is Increased in Food Preservation-Stressed Bacteria,” Journal of Applied Microbiology, Vol. 103, No. 5, 2003, pp. 1883-1888. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2672.2007.03412.x
[17] C. Gilbert and M. Slavik, “Determination of Toxicity of Campylobacter jejuni Isolated from Humans and from Poultry Carcasses Acquired at Various Stages of Production,” Journal of Applied Microbiology, Vol. 97, No. 2, 2004, pp. 347-353. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2672.2004.02302.x
[18] CLSI, “Performance Standards for Antimicrobial Disk Susceptibility Tests. Approved Standard,” 8th Edition, Clinical Laboratory Standards Institute, Wayne, 2003.
[19] M. B. Huysmans and J. D. Turnidge, “Disc Susceptibility Testing for Thermomphilic Campylobacters,” Pathology, Vol. 29, No. 2, 1997, pp. 209-216. doi:10.1080/00313029700169884
[20] D. Chatterji and A. K. Ojha, “Revisiting the Stringent Response, ppGpp and Starvation Signaling, Current Opinion in Microbiology, Vol. 4, No. 2, 2001, pp. 160-165. doi:10.1016/S1369-5274(00)00182-X
[21] K. Potrykus and M. Cashel, (p)ppGpp: Still Magical?” Annual Review of Microbiology, Vol. 62, No. 1, 2008, pp. 35-51. doi:10.1146/annurev.micro.62.081307.162903
[22] D. L. A. Greenway and R. R. England, “The Intrinsic Resistance of Escherichia Coli to Various Antimicrobial Agents Requires ppGpp and σS,” Letters in Applied Microbiology, Vol. 29, No. 5, 1999, pp. 323-326. doi:10.1046/j.1472-765X.1999.00642.x
[23] D. Nguyen, A. Joshi-Datar, F. Lepine, E. Bauerle, O. Olakanmi, K. Beer, G. McKay, R. Siehnel, J. Schafhauser, Y. Wang, B. E. Britigan and P. K. Singh, “Active Starvation Responses Mediate Antibiotic Tolerance in Biofilms and Nutrient-Limited Bacteria,” Science, Vol. 334, No. 6058, 2011, pp. 982-986.
[24] S. Fraud and K. Poole, “Oxidative Stress Induction of the mexXY Multidrug Efflux Genes and Promotion of Aminoglycoside Resistance Development in Pseudomonas Aeruginosa,” Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, Vol. 55, No. 3, 2010, pp. 1068-1074.
[25] J. Lin, L. O. Michel and Q. Zhang, “CmeABC Functions as a Multidrug Efflux System in Campylobacter jejuni,” Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, Vol. 46, No. 7, 2002, pp. 2124-2131. doi:10.1128/AAC.46.7.2124-2131.2002
[26] J. Lin, O. Sahin, L. O. Michel and Q. Zhang, “Critical Role of Multidrug Efflux Pump CmeABC in Bile Resistance and in Vivo Colonization of Campylobacter jejuni,” Infection and Immunity, Vol. 71, No. 8, 2003, pp. 4250-4259. doi:10.1128/IAI.71.8.4250-4259.2003
[27] P. L. Foster, “Stress-Induced Mutagenesis in Bacteria,” Critical Reviews in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Vol. 42, No. 5, 2007, pp. 373-397. doi:10.1080/10409230701648494

Copyright © 2022 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.