Seventy-six Enterococcus isolates (43 E. faecalis, 30 E. faecium, two E. durans, and one E. hirae) recovered from fecal samples of poultry in a slaughterhouse (one isolate per fecal sample and one fecal sample per lot of animals) were studied for bacteriocin production and for the presence of genes encoding bacteriocins and virulence factors. The presence of genes encoding virulence factors (cpd, gelE, fsr, ace, agg, and esp) and bacteriocins (entA, entB, entP, entQ, entAS-48, entL50A/B, cyl, and bac31) were studied by polymerase chain reaction in all enterococci. At least two virulence genes were detected in all 43 E. faecalis isolates, cpd and gelE being the most frequently detected genes (97.7%) followed by ace (62.8%), agg (39.5%), fsr (27.9%), and esp (2.3%). No virulence genes were detected in the other enterococcal species with the exception of one E. faecium and one E. durans isolates that harbored the gelE gene. Antimicrobial activity against eight indicator bacteria (including Listeria monocytogenes) was assayed in the enterococci, and 23 (30.3%) showed inhibitory activity against L. monocytogenes, the other 22 enterococci showing activity against indicator bacteria other than L. monocytogenes. Only the entA, entB, and cyl genes were detected in our study (entA entB in nine E. faecium isolates and the cyl gene in seven E. faecalis isolates). A wide variety of virulence genes have been detected in fecal E. faecalis isolates from poultry, but not in the other enterococcal species. However, the presence of known bacteriocin structural genes is associated more with the E. faecium species.
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Vol. 50 • No. 1