Bacteria of Public Health Significance on Fruit and Vegetables Sold Across Markets in Makurdi, Nigeria
Fruits and vegetables are composed of vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals and are globally recommended as part of a healthy diet. But despite their immense nutritional benefits, their surfaces can become contaminated with pathogenic microbes leading to illness or death. We examined the surfaces of fresh garden egg (Solanum aethiopicum), carrot (Daucus carota), mangoes (Mangifera indica), and oranges (Citrus sinensis), purchased from the four major fruit markets in Makurdi (Railway, Wurukum, Wadata, and High-level) for bacteria of public health significance and also estimated the total aerobic plate count (TAPC). Samples were tested for the presence of bacteria by culturing on selected media. Characterization of the isolates was achieved using biochemical tests, Gram staining, and microscopy. Six different bacteria were detected -Pseudomonas spp., Staphylococcus aureus, Klebsiella spp., Escherichia coli, Salmonella spp., and Streptococcus spp., in the range 6.25×106 to 10.2×106 cfu/g in the sampled produce. Among the sampled markets, the fruits and vegetable purchased from High-level market revealed the highest contamination. Carrots purchased from High-level had the highest TAPC of 12.2 × 106 cfu/g, mangoes from Wadata market (9.0 × 106 cfu/g), while garden eggs and oranges also from High-level market showed 8.4 × 106 and 7.6 × 106 cfu/g respectively. At 36.6%, carrots had the highest percentage contamination, followed by mangoes (23.3%), while oranges and garden eggs were the least contaminated at 20% each. There are public health and hygiene risks regarding the fruits and vegetables sold in markets in Makurdi. Urgent steps to address these public health concerns are required.
Food Microbiology, Bacterial Contamination, Fresh Produce, Food Safety, Fresh Fruits and Vegetables, Nigeria
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