Poster Title

Evaluation of Potential Pathogens in Spices from Stores in Kentucky

Grade Level at Time of Presentation

Senior

Institution

Kentucky State University

KY House District #

6

KY Senate District #

6

Department

Food & Animal Science, CAFSSS

Abstract

The world spice and herb market is valued around US$ 4 billion and expected to exceed US$ 6.5 billion per year. While most dried foods are at low risk for causing food-borne illnesses, herbs and spices can harbor microorganisms. Worldwide, between1973 and 2010 contaminated spices were responsible for 14 foodborne outbreaks. The American Chemical Society reported bacterial counts in the order of 102 and 107 cfu/g in certain commercial spices. In order to retain their flavors, they are usually processed at low temperature, creating conducive conditions for microorganisms to survive or multiply. In the current study, using selective and differential media and petrifilms, a comparative evaluation of bacterial contamination due to Enterobacteriaceae, E. coli, Listeria and Salmonella in five frequently used household spices was carried out and the antimicrobial susceptibility of the isolates was tested against 14 antibiotics using Kirby-Bauer diffusion assay. Eight different brands of spices (n=46) were sampled from local grocery stores which included 12 whole and 34 powdered varieties. The isolated individual colonies were identified using differential biochemical profiling with API E 20 system. Approximately 45% of the samples were detected to be contamination with Enterobacteriaceae. No E.coli, Listeria or Salmonella were detected in any samples. Stenotrophomonas maltophilia, was most frequently detected in (28%) the tested samples. Powdered chili peppers and whole black peppers were more prone for contamination than other spices. Nearly, 14% of the isolates were resistant to at-least three antibiotics, indicating the possibility of consumer’s exposure to multiple drug resistant bacteria.

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Evaluation of Potential Pathogens in Spices from Stores in Kentucky

The world spice and herb market is valued around US$ 4 billion and expected to exceed US$ 6.5 billion per year. While most dried foods are at low risk for causing food-borne illnesses, herbs and spices can harbor microorganisms. Worldwide, between1973 and 2010 contaminated spices were responsible for 14 foodborne outbreaks. The American Chemical Society reported bacterial counts in the order of 102 and 107 cfu/g in certain commercial spices. In order to retain their flavors, they are usually processed at low temperature, creating conducive conditions for microorganisms to survive or multiply. In the current study, using selective and differential media and petrifilms, a comparative evaluation of bacterial contamination due to Enterobacteriaceae, E. coli, Listeria and Salmonella in five frequently used household spices was carried out and the antimicrobial susceptibility of the isolates was tested against 14 antibiotics using Kirby-Bauer diffusion assay. Eight different brands of spices (n=46) were sampled from local grocery stores which included 12 whole and 34 powdered varieties. The isolated individual colonies were identified using differential biochemical profiling with API E 20 system. Approximately 45% of the samples were detected to be contamination with Enterobacteriaceae. No E.coli, Listeria or Salmonella were detected in any samples. Stenotrophomonas maltophilia, was most frequently detected in (28%) the tested samples. Powdered chili peppers and whole black peppers were more prone for contamination than other spices. Nearly, 14% of the isolates were resistant to at-least three antibiotics, indicating the possibility of consumer’s exposure to multiple drug resistant bacteria.