Geohelminth contamination of fruits and vegetables cultivated on land irrigated with waste-water in Gusau Local Government Area, Zamfara State, Nigeria
The study assessed the contamination of Amaranthus cruentus (green), Lactuca sativa (lettuce), Corchorus olitorius (tossa jute), Lycopersicon esculentum (tomatoes), Capsicum annuum (Chilli pepper) and Solanum marcrocarpon (garden eggs), grown on soil irrigated with household effluents and river water in some selected gardens in Gusau, Zamfara State, by geohelminth ova and larvae. The fruits and vegetables (250 g each) purchased from four gardens were washed in 500 ml of normal saline (0.85% NaCl) and examined for geohelminth ova and larvae, using formalin-ether concentration method. Out of the 132 ova and 26 larvae obtained from four gardens, 104 (65.8%) were Ascaris lumbricoides, 28 (17.7%) Trichuris trichiura, 24 (15.2%) hookworm and 2 (1.3%) Strongyloides stercoralis. Vegetables had more parasite stages than the fruits. Amaranthus cruentus (green) was the most contaminated 65 (41.1%) and the least was Solanum macrocarpon (garden egg) 4 (2.5%). The samples were to some extent contaminated with either helminth ova, larvae or both, with the vegetables being more contaminated than the fruits. These differences in the level of contamination were statistically significant (p<0.01). There is the need for prevention of contamination at all points of the vegetables and fruits cultivation to consumption. This can be achieved through effective health education programme to emphasize the composting of human night soil and animal dung before use as manure.
Keywords: fruits, vegetables, geohelminths, ova, larvae.