Evaluation of a rapid screening method for detection of antimicrobial resistance in the commensal microbiota of the gut

Alessandro Bartoloni, Marta Benedetti, Lucia Pallecchi, Mattias Larsson, Antonia Mantella, Marianne Strohmeyer, Filippo Bartalesi, Connie Fernandez, Elisa Guzman, Yolanda Vallejos, Ana Liz Villagran, Humberto Guerra, Eduardo Gotuzzo, Franco Paradisi, Torkel Falkenberg, Gian Maria Rossolini, Göran Kronvall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The assessment of antimicrobial resistance among commensal bacteria is an indicator of the spread of antimicrobial resistance. Rapid screening methods for detection of antimicrobial-resistant faecal Escherichia coli directly on MacConkey plates have been successfully adopted but suffer from lack of standardisation. The purpose of this study was to evaluate a direct plating method (DPM) for detection of antimicrobial-resistant faecal E. coli and to compare it with a conventional method. Faecal samples were collected from 71 healthy children from Peru and Bolivia. In the DPM, a faecal swab was directly plated onto a MacConkey agar plate and antimicrobial disks were applied onto the seeded plate. Raw data were obtained by direct reading of the plate and were subjected to confirmatory analysis. Good concordance between the DPM and a conventional method was observed in detecting carriage of resistant E. coli, with a higher sensitivity for the DPM. Analysis of the results allowed interpretive criteria to be defined for DPM raw data. The DPM showed good sensitivity and specificity at very low cost (ten times cheaper than the conventional method) to investigate the faecal carriage of drug-resistant E. coli. It may represent a useful tool to conduct large-scale resistance surveillance studies and to monitor resistance control programmes cost effectively, particularly in low-resource countries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)119-125
Number of pages7
JournalTransactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2006


  • Antimicrobial resistance
  • Commensal bacteria
  • Direct plating method
  • Escherichia coli

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Medicine(all)


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