To test the hypothesis that Escherichia coli populations have adapted to conventional pig production practices, we comparatively tested intestinal commensal E. coli from wild boars versus isolates from domestic pigs by analyzing virulence-associated factors, adhesion, and metabolic activities. Virulence-associated genes typical for intestinal pathogenic E. coli (inVAGs) were sporadically detected among E. coli from wild boars except the adhesion-related gene paa and the enterotoxin-encoding gene astA. In contrast, several VAGs typical for extraintestinal pathogenic E. coli (exVAGs) were common in E. coli from wild boars. The exVAG chuA occurred more often in E. coli from wild boars compared to E. coli from domestic pigs. 23.5% of E. coli from wild boars belonged to EcoR group B2 which is higher than observed for E. coli from clinically healthy domestic pigs. Furthermore, E. coli from wild boars were more efficient in fermentation of carbohydrate sources (dulcitol, inositol, d-sucrose, d-tagatose), and adhered better to the intestinal porcine epithelial cell line IPEC-J2. In conclusion, our findings point towards an adaptation of porcine intestinal E. coli to a specific intestinal milieu caused by different animal living conditions.
Copyright © 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.