Abstract

Until recently, research has focused on Clostridium perfringens in clinical settings without considering environmental isolates. In this study, environmental genomes were used to investigate possible antibiotic resistance and the presence of virulence traits in C. perfringens strains from raw surface water. In silico assembly of three C. perfringens strains, DNA generated almost complete genomes setting their length ranging from 3.4 to 3.6 Mbp with GC content of 28.18%. An average of 3,175 open reading frames was identified, with the majority associated with carbohydrate and protein metabolisms. The genomes harboured several antibiotic resistance genes for glycopeptides, macrolide–lincosamide–streptogramin B, β-lactam, trimethoprim, tetracycline and aminoglycosides and also the presence of several genes encoding for polypeptides and multidrug resistance efflux pumps and 35 virulence genes. Some of these encode for haemolysins, sialidase, hyaluronidase, collagenase, perfringolysin O and phospholipase C. All three genomes contained sequences indicating phage, antibiotic resistance and pathogenic islands integration sites. A genomic comparison of these three strains confirmed high similarity and shared core genes with clinical C. perfringens strains, highlighting their health security risks. This study provides a genomic insight into the potential pathogenicity of C. perfringens present in the environment and emphasises the importance of monitoring this niche in the future.

Graphical Abstract

Graphical Abstract
Graphical Abstract
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