Effects of Water Quality and Post-Harvest Handling on Microbiological Contamination of Lettuce at Urban and Peri-Urban Locations of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. uri icon

abstract

  • Vegetable production in urban gardens of Ouagadougou contributes to food security, but water for irrigation is often of low quality. This is particularly acute if irrigation water is taken from wastewater polluted channels. This study aimed at (i) verifying to what degree irrigation water quality is correlated with contamination of lettuce with Escherichia coli, total coliforms, and Salmonella spp., and (ii) assessing effects of post-harvest handling on pathogen development during the trade chain. We tested pathogen removal efficiency on lettuce by applying post-harvest washing. Irrigation water of production areas in Ouagadougou (n = 10) showed a mean E. coli load of 2.1 x 10(5) CFU 100 mL(-1). In 60% of the cases, irrigation water did not meet the standards of the World Health Organization (WHO) for safe irrigation water, and in 30% of the cases, irrigation water was contaminated with Salmonella spp. Loads of total coliforms on lettuce leaves ranged from 2.9 x 10(3) CFU g(-1) to 1.3 x 10(6) CFU g(-1), while E. coli averaged 1.1 x 10(2) CFU g(-1). Results on post-harvest handling revealed that microbial loads increased along the trade chain. Overall, half of all lettuce samples (n = 60) were tested positively for Salmonella spp. The experiment showed that appropriate post-harvest handling could prevent the increase of total coliforms.

publication date

  • 2018
  • 2018