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Since the first description of a plasmid-mediated colistin resistance gene (mcr-1) in November 2015 multiple reports of mcr-1 positive isolates indicate a worldwide spread of this newly discovered resistance gene in Enterobacteriaceae. Although the occurrence of mcr-1 positive isolates of livestock, food, environment and human origin is well documented only few systematic studies on the prevalence of mcr-1 are available yet. Here, comprehensive data on the prevalence of mcr-1 in German livestock and food isolates are presented. Over 10.600 E. coli isolates from the national monitoring on zoonotic agents from the years 2010-2015 were screened for phenotypic colistin resistance (MIC value >2 mg/l). Of those, 505 resistant isolates were screened with a newly developed TaqMan-based real-time PCR for the presence of the mcr-1 gene. In total 402 isolates (79.8% of colistin resistant isolates) harboured the mcr-1 gene. The prevalence was depending on the food production chain. The highest prevalence was detected in the turkey food chain (10.7%), followed by broilers (5.6%). A low prevalence was determined in pigs, veal calves and laying hens. The mcr-1 was not detected in beef cattle, beef and dairy products in all years investigated. In conclusion, TaqMan based real-time PCR provides a fast and accurate tool for detection of mcr-1 gene. The overall detection rate of 3.8% for mcr-1 among all E. coli isolates tested is due to high prevalence of mcr-1 in poultry production chains. More epidemiological studies of other European countries are urgently needed to assess German prevalence data.