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Prevelance of total coliforms, faecal coliforms and E. coli in Rawalpindi vegetable markets

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DOI: 10.4236/ns.2013.512158    4,993 Downloads   6,680 Views   Citations

ABSTRACT

Nutritional value of vegetables and high prices of meat and meat originated food compel common people to consume plant originated food particularly salad vegetables. Microbial population of vegetable surfaces contains a large number of pathogenic bacteria including members of Enterobactereace like Escherichia coli (E. coli). A survey was conducted in three major markets of Rawalpindi, Pakistan. Tomato, lettuce, cabbage and cucumber samples were collected from three shops of each market. Each vegetable was analysed as unwashed and washed for total coliforms, faecal coliforms and E. coli by FAO (Food Quality Manual). About two hundred and fifty E. coli isolates were preserved, serotyped for presence of O157 serotype. Total coliforms, faecal coliforms and E. coli count exceeded the permissible limits in most samples. The highest Total coliforms were associated with cabbage (3.78 log10 cfu/g). Cucumber was the least contaminated by Total coliforms (2.15 log10 cfu/g). E. coli was detected in tomato, lettuce, cucumber and cabbage. Washed samples showed reduced bacterial population. Seventy six isolates of E. coli were biochemically characterized and serotyped for O157 antigen. A majority of strains could not be identified by serotyping. These findings conclude with high potentially pathogenic microbial load on salad vegetables and urge for preventive action on priority basis.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Cite this paper

Alam, S. , Khalil, S. , Ayub, N. , Bibi, A. , Saeed, B. , Khalid, S. and Siddiq, S. (2013) Prevelance of total coliforms, faecal coliforms and E. coli in Rawalpindi vegetable markets. Natural Science, 5, 1298-1304. doi: 10.4236/ns.2013.512158.

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