Microbiological Contamination of some Fresh Leafy Vegetables Sold in Cape Coast, Ghana
This study evaluated the microbiological contamination of cabbage, lettuce, and scallions sold in Abura and Kotokuraba markets in Cape Coast, Ghana. These vegetables were analyzed for the presence and levels of microorganisms using standard microbiological procedures. Results revealed bacterial and fungal contaminations of the vegetables from Abura and Kotokuraba markets. Mean bacterial counts recorded in Nutrient Agar, for example, from Kotokuraba market were 1.93x108, 1.23x108, and 1.17x108 cfu/ml for cabbage, lettuce and scallion, respectively, higher than mean bacterial counts recorded from Abura market at 9.9x107, 2.8x107, and 6.60x107 cfu/ml for cabbage, lettuce and scallion, respectively. Conversely, the mean fungal counts for cabbage, lettuce and scallion were higher at Abura market than Kotokuraba market. Bacteria isolated from the vegetables include Escherichia coli, Enterobacter spp., Klebsiella spp., Salmonella spp., Serratia marcescens, and Staphylococcus, whereas fungi of the genera Aspergillus, Candida, Fusarium, Penicillium, and Rhodotorula were isolated. These results indicate that the vegetables are significantly contaminated, and have poor microbiological quality that could potentially result in outbreak of foodborne illnesses. Contaminations of the vegetables were due to poor pre- and post-harvest handling practices. The implications of findings of this study on tourism and hospitality industries in Cape Coast are discussed.
Keywords: cabbage, food microbiology, foodborne microorganisms, Ghana, lettuce, scallion
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