The plasmid profiles, and their association with antimicrobial resistance, of 60 strains of isolated from fish, shellfish and water were investigated. Only two strains were susceptible to all the antimicrobial agents tested; the highest incidences of resistance were to tetracycline (96.7%), prystanamycin (93.3%), ampicillin (91.7%) and cephalothin (91.7%). Forty strains harboured one or more plasmids and the plasmid profile most frequently detected (15%) was the association of three small plasmids of 4.2, 3.2 and 2.8 Mda. Curing experiments indicated that the plasmid-free derivative strains simultaneously lost their resistance determinants to tobramycin, neomycin, gentamicin and kanamycin. More than 90% of the strains tested produced siderophores and displayed haemolytic activity. However, the relationship between these virulence characters and the presence of plasmids was different; in 74.5% of the strains there was siderophore production and plasmids were detectable, whereas only 60% of the strains simultaneously possessed plasmids and haemolytic activity.


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