The aim of this study was to analyze the enterobacterial repetitive intergenic consensus (ERIC)-types, phylo-groups and antimicrobial resistance (AMR) patterns of Escherichia coli and to investigate if these approaches are suitable for microbial source tracking (MST). E. coli strains were isolated from cattle faeces and Karaj River. For genetic diversity, AMR profile, and phylo-grouping, we applied ERIC-PCR, disk diffusion, and multiplex-PCR, respectively. Fifty isolates from each sample group were used in the study. ERIC fingerprinting produced ten different bands, demonstrating 64 unique and 36 repetitive profiles. Six isolates from the river showed the same ERIC pattern of the cattle, of which four expressed the same AMR profile. E. coli isolates from water were represented in A, B1, C, and D phylo-groups. Phylo-groups A, B1, and E were more prevalent in the cattle isolates and B2 was absent in both sources. Three of the water isolates with the same ERIC-type and AMR to cattle isolates showed the same phylo-groups. Genetic characteristics, AMR, and phylo-groups of the isolates from the river are diverse and complex. For accurate MST, complementary approaches should be applied together and a comprehensive library should be provided.

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