Phenotypic and genotypic antimicrobial resistance in clinical anaerobic isolates from India

JAC Antimicrob Resist. 2021 Apr 17;3(2):dlab044. doi: 10.1093/jacamr/dlab044. eCollection 2021 Jun.


Background: Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in anaerobes remains a neglected field. The laborious procedures, non-compliance with the standard methodology and differences in interpretive breakpoints add variation in resistance data.

Objectives: To assess the phenotypic and genotypic resistance among clinically important anaerobes to six antibiotics frequently used as empirical therapy for anaerobic infections.

Methods: A total of 150 anaerobic isolates were recovered from clinical specimens. The antimicrobial susceptibility was determined by the breakpoint agar dilution method as per CLSI guidelines. The presence of genes encoding resistance to metronidazole (nim gene), imipenem (cfiA gene) and mobilizable insertion sequence (IS) elements was detected to comprehend their association with phenotypic resistance.

Results: This is a first study of its kind from the Indian subcontinent looking at the AMR and associated genes in anaerobes. Resistance to metronidazole, clindamycin, imipenem, piperacillin/tazobactam and cefoxitin was 32.6%, 42.6%, 0.6%, 38% and 35.3%, respectively. No resistance was observed to chloramphenicol. The nim gene was detected in 24.6% of isolates, of which 70.2% were resistant by phenotype. On sequencing, the PCR products of six random nim genes showed a close similarity to nimE of Bacteroides fragilis with 99% nucleotide and 100% amino acid sequence similarity. The cfiA gene, associated with imipenem resistance, was detected in 16% of isolates.

Conclusions: The possibility of isolates carrying AMR genes to become resistant to antibiotics by acquisition of IS elements mandates attention to periodically monitor the resistance patterns and geographic distribution of these genes and IS elements to understand the trends of AMR in anaerobes.