Arcobacter spp. in raw milk from vending machines in Piedmont and occurrence of virulence genes in isolates

Ital J Food Saf. 2019 Dec 5;8(4):7859. doi: 10.4081/ijfs.2019.7859.


Arcobacter spp. has been recognized as an emerging foodborne pathogen and a hazard to human health. In the dairy chain, it has been isolated from different sources, nevertheless data on Arcobacter occurrence in raw milk provided by vending machines are few. This study aimed to identify potentially pathogenic Arcobacter spp. in raw milk intended for human consumption sold through vending machines located in Piedmont. In an 8-month period, 37 raw milk samples were collected from 24 dairy farms: 12 (32,4%) were collected directly in farm from bulk tank milk and 25 (67,6%) from vending machines. Eight (21,6%) out of the 37 milk samples and 7 (29,2%) out of the 24 dairy farms were positive for Arcobacter spp. by culture examination. Four (16%) out of the 25 samples from vending machines and 4 (33,3%) out of the 12 samples from bulk tank milk were positive. All 8 isolates were identified as A. butzleri both by MALDI-TOF MS and multiplex end-point PCR. According to the detection of virulence genes, a total of four Patho-types were highlighted: 5 isolates in P-type 1 and only one isolate for each of the P-types 2-3-4. A. butzleri isolates carrying encoding virulence factors genes were isolated from raw milk intended for human consumption: these findings strengthen the compulsory consumption after boiling as required by current legislation and suggest the need of enlarging the analytical investigations to other microorganisms not yet included in the food safety criteria.

Keywords: Arcobacter spp; Raw milk; Vending machine; Virulence genes.

Grants and funding

Funding: This project was funded by the Ministry of Health (Project Code IZS PLV 05/14 RC).