Involvement of efflux mechanisms in biocide resistance of Campylobacter jejuni and Campylobacter coli.
ABSTRACT Active efflux has an important role in the antimicrobial resistance of Campylobacter jejuni and Campylobacter coli. The effects of two putative efflux pump inhibitors (EPIs), phenylalanine-arginine β-naphthylamide and 1-(1-naphthylmethyl)-piperazine, and the effects of inactivation of the cmeB,cmeF and cmeR genes on resistance to a broad range of antimicrobials were studied using the broth microdilution method. The antimicrobials tested in C. jejuni and C. coli were the biocides triclosan, benzalkonium chloride, chlorhexidine diacetate, cetylpyridinium chloride and trisodium phosphate, along with the anionic surfactant SDS and the antibiotics erythromycin and ciprofloxacin. Both EPIs partially reversed the resistance to all of these antimicrobials. Differences between these EPIs were seen for substrate preference and reductions in MIC. The MICs of the antimicrobials were reduced in the cmeB and cmeF mutants and increased in the cmeR mutant, with few exceptions. Both of these putative EPIs further decreased the MICs of the antimicrobials in these mutant strains. These data confirm that active efflux is an important mechanism in biocide resistance in C. jejuni and C. coli. At least one non-CmeABC efflux system or reduced uptake is responsible for resistance to biocides.