Bacterial Assessment on Leaves of Green Vegetable Grown on Hydroponics and its possible Health Risks
Mario E. Díaz Rivera, MSEM; Christian Vélez, MSEM; Beatriz Zayas, Ph.D3; Karlo Malavé Llamas, MS

The World Health Organization has classified food borne illness as a public health problem especially for high risk populations such as the very young, the elderly and immune compromised. The consumption of raw green leafy vegetables has been linked as a risk factor for contamination with pathogens such as Salmonella spp. and Escherichia coli O157: H7. In this study we analyzed irrigation water and leaf samples from Lactuca sativa a highly consume lettuce in Puerto Rico, using the EPA membrane filtration method 1600 in order to determine the presence of microbiological pathogens. Two hydroponic agricultural facilities in Puerto Rico where selected and results demonstrated the presence of various bacterial genera including the pathogen Enterococcus faecalis as the most important disease causing organism in our samples. Results reveal 70 CFU / ml, 13 CFU / ml, 4 CFU / ml 26 CFU / ml, 9 CFU / ml and 5 CFU / ml, in area 1. In contrast, 15 CFU / ml, 32 CFU / ml, 26 CFU / ml, 17 CFU / ml, 4 CFU / ml, 6 CFU / ml resulted from leafy samples for area 2. Results in water samples from both areas showed > 300 CFU/ml (TNTC) (n = 18).

Full Text: PDF     DOI: 10.15640/jaes.v4n2a1