Evaluation of the Microbiological Quality of Conventional and Organic Leafy Greens at the Time of Purchase from Retail Markets in Alexandria, Egypt
Rowaida K.S. Khalil, Mohamed Gomaa Pol J Microbiol 2014; 63 (2): ICID: 1115560 Article type: Original article IC™ Value: 10.00
Abstract provided by Publisher
This is a pioneer study in Egypt that provides some assessment of the microbiological quality of conventional and organic leafy green vegetables that constitute an essential component of the Egyptians’ daily diet. A total of 380 samples of unpackaged whole conventional and 84 packaged whole organic leafy greens were collected from retail markets in Alexandria, and analyzed for total aerobic mesophilic count (AMC) and total E. coli count (ECC) using the standard spread plate method. Mean AMC values for organic samples were statistically less (p<0.05) than those of the corresponding conventional samples. Conventional radish and organic parsley samples had the highest AMC of 7.17 and 7.68 log CFU/g respectively, while conventional green cabbage and organic basil had the lowest AMC of 3.63 and 3.23 log CFU/g respectively. The presence of E. coli in 100% of the studied leafy greens was indicative of potential fecal contamination, in view of open and unhygienic environmental and unsanitary handling conditions, as leafy green items are available for sale by street-vendors. Unsatisfactory AMC and ECC levels encountered in the studied samples, warrant future investigations to determine the potential prevalence of foodborne pathogens, and to identify sources of dominating microorganisms, which could make a contribution to the field of food safety.