[email protected]@generic-F983598938A7 - African Journal of Food Science Vol 4(5 pp 291 296 May 2010 Available online

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African Journal of Food Science Vol. 4(5), pp. 291- 296, May 2010 Available online ISSN 1996-0794 © 2010 Academic Journals Full Length Research paper Microbial quality of fruits and vegetables sold in Sango Ota, Nigeria Angela Obaigeli Eni*, Ibukunoluwa Adesuwa Oluwawemitan and Oranusi U. Solomon Department of Biological Sciences, College of Science and Technology, Covenant University, KM 10 Idiroko Road, Canaanland, P. M. B. 1023, Ota, Ogun State, Nigeria Accepted 14 May, 2010 Fresh fruits and vegetables promote good health but harbour a wide range of microbial contaminants. To assess the microbial quality of fruits and vegetables sold in Sango-Ota, 15 samples of different fruits and vegetables were purchased from three vendors. Samples were analyzed to study the density of microorganisms by standard plate count (SPC). Mean microbial load ranged from 1.3 × 10 6 - 1.82 × 10 7 cfu/ml for vendor A; 9.9 × 10 6 - 3.0 × 10 7 cfu/ml for vendor B and 9 × 10 5 - 3.0 × 10 7 cfu/ml for vendor C. Nine bacteria belonging to eight genera were identified . Staphylococcus aureus (29.2%) was the most frequently isolated followed by Staphylococcus spp (12.5%), Klebsiella spp (12.5%) and Salmonella spp (12.5%). Actinomycetes (4.2%) and Escherichia coli (4.2%) were the least frequently isolated. The effect of acetic acid (vinegar) concentration (0.5 - 2.5%) and exposure time (0-10 min) on the microbial load of five vegetables were also assessed. Increasing vinegar concentration from 0.5 - 2.5% reduced microbial loads by 15 - 82%. Least microbial loads for all vegetables were obtained when exposed to 2.5% vinegar solution for 10 min. Consumer’s awareness on the dangers of consuming pathogen contaminated foods and the need to insist on properly processed/stored sliced produce needs to be re-awakened. Key words: Fruits, vegetables, microbiological quality, foodborne pathogens, vinegar. INTRODUCTION Fruits and vegetables are an extraordinary dietary source of nutrients, micronutrients, vitamins and fibre for humans and are thus vital for health and well being. Well bala- nced diets, rich in fruits and vegetables, are especially valuable for their ability to prevent vitamin C and vitamin A deficiencies and are also reported to reduce the risk of several diseases (Kalia and Gupta, 2006). Fruits and vegetables are widely exposed to microbial contamination through contact with soil, dust and water and by handling at harvest or during postharvest pro- cessing. They therefore harbour a diverse range of micro- organisms including plant and human pathogens (Nguyen-the and Carlin, 1994; Dunn et al., 1995; Carmo et al., 2004). Differences in microbial profiles of various fruits and vegetables result largely from unrelated factors such as resident microflora in the soil, application of non- resident microflora via animal manures, sewage or irri- gation water, transportation and handling by individual retailers (Ray and Bhunia, 2007; Ofor et al., 2009). In *Corresponding author. E-mail: [email protected]
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