Incidence and identification of mesophilic Aeromonas spp. from retail foods


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Abstract

Sixty-eight food samples were examined for the presence of mesophilic Aeromonas species both qualitatively and quantitatively. Aeromonads were isolated from 26% of the vegetable samples, 70% of the meat and poultry samples and 72% of the fish and shrimps. Numbers of motile aeromonads present in the food samples varied from < 102 cfu g−1 to > 105 cfu g−1. GLC analysis of FAMEs was used to identify a selection of presumptive Aeromonas colonies to fenospecies or genomic species level. Aeromonas strains belonging to the Aer. caviae complex, which also includes the potentially pathogenic genospecies HG4, were mostly isolated from vegetables but were also found in meat, poultry and fish. In addition, three strains of the virulent taxon Aer. veronii biovar sobria HG8 were isolated from poultry and minced meat. All members of the Aer. hydrophila complex, predominant in the fish, meat and poultry samples, were classified in the non-virulent taxon HG3. Although the significance of Aeromonas in foods remains undefined, the isolation of Aeromonas HG4 and HG8 strains from a variety of retail foods may indicate that these products can act as possible vehicles for the dessimination of food-borne Aeromonas gastroenteritis.

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