Occurrence and characteristics of methicillin-resistant and -susceptible Staphylococcus aureus Isolated from the beef production chain in Korea

Haeng Ho Lee1, Gi Yong Lee1, Hong Sik Eom1, Soo-Jin Yang1,*
Author Information & Copyright
1School of Bioresources and Bioscience, Chung-Ang University, 4726 Seodong-daero, Daedeok-myeon, Anseon, Korea.
*Corresponding Author : Soo-Jin Yang. School of Bioresources and Bioscience, Chung-Ang University, 4726 Seodong-daero, Daedeok-myeon, Anseon, Korea. Tel: +82-31-670-3256. Fax: +82-31-675-1381. E-mail:

© Copyright 2020 Korean Society for Food Science of Animal Resources. This is an Open-Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Received: Nov 12, 2019 ; Revised: Jan 29, 2020 ; Accepted: Mar 6, 2020

Published Online: Mar 12, 2020


The emergence and persistence of methicillin-susceptible Staphylococcus aureus (MSSA) and methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) in livestock animals have been reported as a potential risk factor for transmission to humans. In this study, we investigated the nationwide prevalence and characteristics of MRSA and MSSA in the Korean beef production system, including retail markets, slaughterhouses and cattle farms. From a total of 1,285 samples, only 5 MRSA strains were isolated: from a farmer (1 ST72 MRSA), a carcass sample from a slaughterhouse (1 ST72 MRSA), and beef cattle (3 ST5 MRSA). In addition, 11 MSSA strains were isolated from beef cattle (n = 3), humans (1 farmer, 1 slaughterhouse worker, and 4 retail market workers), and carcass samples (n = 1) and slaughterhouse environment (n = 1). Although the prevalence of MRSA and MSSA in beef cattle was much lower than that reported in pigs, 5/5 MRSA and 2/11 MSSA strains displayed multiple drug resistance (MDR) phenotypes. Unlike the swine-associated MRSA, no correlation was found between tetracycline/zinc resistance and MDR phenotype. However, MRSA strains had an identical set of staphylococcal enterotoxins and exhibited enhanced levels of resistance to antimicrobial peptides (PMAP-36 and LL-37) compared to the MSSA strains. In conclusion, continued and systemic surveillance of livestock, meat products, and humans in close contact with livestock/meat products is necessary to prevent the transmission of MRSA and MSSA to humans.

Keywords: MRSA; MSSA; Beef cattle; Antimicrobial resistance

Journal Title Change

We announce that the title of our journal and related information were changed as below from January, 2019.


Before (~2018.12)

After (2019.01~)

Journal Title

Korean Journal for Food Science of Animal Resources

Food Science of Animal Resources

Journal Abbreviation

Korean J. Food Sci. An.

Food Sci. Anim. Resour.







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