Efflux pump induction by quaternary ammonium compounds and fluoroquinolone resistance in bacteria

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Buffet-Bataillon, Sylvie ; Tattevin, Pierre ; Maillard, Jean-Yves ; Bonnaure-Mallet, Martine ; Jolivet-Gougeon, Anne (2016)

Biocides, primarily those containing quaternary ammonium compounds (QAC), are heavily used in hospital environments and various industries (e.g., food, water, cosmetic). To date, little attention has been paid to potential implications of QAC use in the emergence of antibiotic resistance, especially fluoroquinolone-resistant bacteria in patients and in the environment. QAC-induced overexpression of efflux pumps can lead to: cross resistance with fluoroquinolones mediated by multidrug efflux pumps; stress response facilitating mutation in the Quinolone Resistance Determining Region; and biofilm formation increasing the risk of transfer of mobile genetic elements carrying fluoroquinolone or QAC resistance determinants. By following the European Biocidal Product Regulation, manufacturers of QAC are required to ensure that their QAC-based biocidal products are safe and will not contribute to emerging bacterial resistance.
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