B.E.W. Toh, O. Bokhari, A. Kutbi, M.F. Haroon, D. Mantilla-Calderon, H. Zowawi, P.-Y. Hong
Journal of Food Safety, volume 38, issue 1, (2018)
Produce-microbiota, Antimicrobial resistance, Microbial safety, Microbial risk assesment
A monitoring effort that spanned across 1.5 years was conducted to examine three types of produce‐associated microbiota. The average amount of antibiotic‐resistant bacteria recovered from lettuce, tomato, and cucumber was 1.02 × 1010, 2.05 × 107, and 4.78 × 109cells per 50 g of each produce, respectively. A total of 480 bacterial isolates were obtained and identified from their 16S rRNA genes, revealing isolates that were ubiquitously recovered from all three types of produce. However, sporadic presence of Klebsiella pneumoniae and Acinetobacter baumannii was detected on lettuce and cucumbers but not tomatoes. End‐point PCR revealed that the K. pneumoniae and A. baumannii isolates were positive for genes encoding extended spectrum beta‐lactamase. Whole genome sequencing of two of the K. pneumoniae isolates further suggested the presence of the blaCTX‐M‐15 gene in a conjugative plasmid, as well as other antibiotic resistance genes and virulence‐associated traits in either conjugative plasmids or the chromosomal genome. Quantitative microbial risk assessment indicated varying levels of ingestion risk associated with different types of produce. In particular, the risk arising from ESBL‐positive K. pneumoniae in lettuce, but not in cucumbers or tomatoes, was higher than the acceptable annual risk of 10−4.