The use of ribotyping and antibiotic resistance patterns for identification of host sources of Escherichia coli strains

Lett Appl Microbiol. 2005;40(1):63-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1472-765X.2004.01630.x.


Aims: To compare antibiotic resistance and ribotyping patterns ability to identify triplicate isolates sent from a group of 40 Escherichia coli taken from seven host sources.

Methods and results: Of the 120 isolates, 22 isolates were resistant to ampicillin, streptomycin, tetracycline and trimethoprim and 98 isolates were susceptible. Antibiotic patterns identified 33 of the triplicates and three of the six groups had isolates from multiple hosts. Ribotyping divided the isolates into 27 ribotype groups with all triplicates grouped into the same ribotype group with one host per group.

Conclusions: Antibiotic susceptibility pattern placed 98 of the isolates in a single group with 50% of the antibiotic susceptibility pattern groups containing multiple host species. Ribotyping groups were host specific with each host having one to seven ribotype groups.

Significance and impact of the study: Antibiotic susceptibility pattern groups have been used for environmental source identification and faecal pollution tracking, however these groups do not always distinguish between host species. Stability of the markers is a potential concern and this system can only be used if antibiotic resistance levels are high in the isolates studied. All isolates have a ribotype group which was stable and like other molecular methods has advantages over antibiotic susceptibility pattern groups which uses a phenotypic method.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology*
  • Bacterial Typing Techniques / methods
  • Drug Resistance, Bacterial / genetics*
  • Escherichia coli / classification
  • Escherichia coli / drug effects*
  • Escherichia coli / genetics
  • Escherichia coli / isolation & purification
  • Escherichia coli / pathogenicity
  • Escherichia coli Infections / epidemiology
  • Escherichia coli Infections / microbiology*
  • Feces / microbiology*
  • Humans
  • Ribotyping*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents