Phages, the most abundant biological entities in the biosphere, can carry different bacterial genes, including those conferring antibiotic resistance. In this study, dairy products were analyzed by qPCR for the presence of phages and phage particles containing antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs). Eleven ARGs were identified in 50 samples of kefir, yogurt, milk, fresh cheese and nut-based milk (horchata), purchased from local retailers in Barcelona. Propagation experiments showed that at least some of the phages isolated from these samples infected Escherichia coli WG5, which was selected as the host strain because it does not contain prophages or ARGs in its genome. Electron microscopy revealed that the phage particles showed morphologies compatible with the Myoviridae and Siphoviridae families. Our results show that dairy products contain ARGs within infectious phage particles and may therefore serve as a reservoir of ARGs that can be mobilized to susceptible hosts, both in the food matrix and...

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