Transfer of antibiotic resistance genes from probiotic bacteria to pathogens poses a safety concern. Orally administered probiotics are exposed to stressful conditions during gastrointestinal transit. In this study, filter mating experiments were performed to investigate the potential role of exposure of Bifidobacterium isolates to acid and bile stress on the transfer of a tetracycline resistance gene, tet(W), to Enterococcus faecalis ATCC 51299. No E. faecalis transconjugants were obtained after mating with either stressed or unstressed Bifidobacterium, thereby suggesting that tet(W) could not be transferred as a result of exposure to gastrointestinal stresses.
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