Microbial Contamination in Vegetables at the Farm Gate Due to Irrigation with Wastewater in the Tamale Metropolis of Northern Ghana

DOI: 10.4236/jep.2013.47078   PDF   HTML     4,813 Downloads   7,625 Views   Citations


The rational for this study was to assess the microbial quality of fresh vegetables at the farm gate of the Water Works road vegetable farm at Gumbihini in the Tamale Metropolis. A total of thirty-six (36) vegetables comprising lettuce, amarantus and cabbages and eight (8) wastewater samples were collected at random and analysed for a period of four months, to assess the microbial contamination level. Samples were analysed for total coliforms, faecal coliforms, E. coli and helminthes eggs. All vegetables sampled during the study period recorded high levels of total and faecal coliform bacteria. Mean faecal coliforms for the various vegetables were as follows; lettuce 3.7 ± 0.5 CFU.g-1, amarantus 3.5 ± 0.6 CFU.g-1 and cabbage 3.1 ± 0.6 log CFU.g-1 fresh weight. FC levels were above the International Commission on Microbiological Specifications for Foods (ICMSF) recommended level of 3 log CFU.g-1 fresh weight. E. coli were recorded in lettuce (3.3 ± 0.6 log CFU.g-1 fresh weight) and amarantus (0.6 ± 0.1 log CFU.g-1 fresh weight) but not in cabbages. Lettuce generally recorded high levels of microbial contamination because of the large surface area occupied by its leaves. Two helminth eggs (Strongiloides stercoralis) were identified in lettuce while four (Ascaris lumbricoides) were identified in wastewater. Microbial loads recorded in wastewater were generally higher than that of vegetables. Since most of these vegetables are eaten fresh or slightly cooked, there is course for concern as public health will be adversely affected. Education of farmers and consumers on food safety has to be intensified to avert a possible outbreak.

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S. Cobbina, M. Kotochi, J. Korese and M. Akrong, "Microbial Contamination in Vegetables at the Farm Gate Due to Irrigation with Wastewater in the Tamale Metropolis of Northern Ghana," Journal of Environmental Protection, Vol. 4 No. 7, 2013, pp. 676-682. doi: 10.4236/jep.2013.47078.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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