Background: Antibiotic resistance is a global public health concern that has been exacerbated by the overuse and misuse of antibiotics, leading to the emergence of resistant bacteria. The gut microbiota, often influenced by antibiotic usage, plays a crucial role in overall health. Therefore, this study aimed to investigate the prevalence of antibiotic resistant genes in the gut microbiota of Indonesian coastal and highland populations, as well as to identify vancomycin-resistant bacteria and their resistant genes.
Methods: Stool samples were collected from 22 individuals residing in Pacet, Mojokerto, and Kenjeran, Surabaya Indonesia in 2022. The read count of antibiotic resistant genes was analyzed in the collected samples, and the bacterium concentration was counted by plating on the antibiotic-containing agar plate. Vancomycin-resistant strains were further isolated, and the presence of vancomycin-resistant genes was detected using a multiplex polymerase chain reaction (PCR).
Results: The antibiotic resistant genes for tetracycline, aminoglycosides, macrolides, beta-lactams, and vancomycin were found in high frequency in all stool samples (100%) of the gut microbiota. Meanwhile, those meant for chloramphenicol and sulfonamides were found in 86% and 16% of the samples, respectively. Notably, vancomycin-resistant genes were found in 16 intrinsically resistant Gram-negative bacterial strains. Among the detected vancomycin-resistant genes, vanG was the most prevalent (27.3%), while vanA was the least prevalent (4.5%).
Conclusion: The presence of multiple vancomycin resistance genes in intrinsically resistant Gram-negative bacterial strains demonstrated the importance of the gut microbiota as a reservoir and hub for the horizontal transfer of antibiotic resistant genes.