Fluted pumpkin ( Telfairia occidentalis
) is a minimally-processed green leafy vegetable traditionally used for
its antianaemic properties in the form of leaf juice without a heating or inactivation step before consumption.
The aim of the study was to assess the presence of surface microbiota on T. occidentalis
leaves and also
to determine the antimicrobial susceptibility of isolated organisms. Bacterial contaminants on 50 samples
of T. occidentalis
leaves were isolated and characterized using standard biochemical methods and the antimicrobial
susceptibility of isolated organisms was determined using the antibiotic disc diffusion assay.
The results obtained show that the leaves of T. occidentalis
is contaminated with organisms which included
(25.9%), Proteus vulgaris
spp. (2.6%), and Serratia liquefaciens
(2.1%). Other bacterial isolates recovered in order of frequency included: Staphylococcus
spp. (33.7%), Bacillus
spp. (8.3%), and Pseudomonas fluorescens
(2.6%). Of the 193 bacterial isolates from the leaves of T. occidentalis
samples tested for antimicrobial resistance, all (100%) were found to be resistant to ampicillin,
cloxacillin, augmentin, erythromycin, and tetracycline while 96% of the isolates were resistant to cephalothin.
Resistance to trimethoprim (93%) and gentamicin (83%) was also observed. Approximately, 22%
of the isolates were resistant to ciprofloxacin; however, only 11 (5.8%) were resistant to ofloxacin. Thus,
uncooked T. occidentalis
is a potential source of highly-resistant epiphytic bacteria which could be opportunistic
pathogens in consumers.