Profiling of potential pathogens from Plankenburg river water used for the irrigation of fresh produce

Kikine, Tshepo Neo Ferdinard (2011-12)

Thesis (MSc Food Sc)--Stellenbosch University, 2011.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The increased consumption of fresh produce has been shown to be related to increases in foodborne disease outbreaks and these have in many cases been ascribed directly to carry-over of pathogens from contaminated irrigation water. In South Africa, rivers are the main source of irrigation water but many have been found to be unsuitable for irrigation of fresh produce because of the unacceptably high levels of faecal contamination. The main aim of this study was to do a baseline evaluation of the microbiological quality of the Plankenburg and Eerste Rivers and to determine which bacterial contaminants are present. Two sampling sites were selected for the Plankenburg (Plank-1 and -3) and one for the Eerste River (Eerste-1). The microbiological analysis included aerobic colony count (ACC), aerobic and anaerobic sporeformers, Staphylococcus, Salmonella, Listeria, enterococci, coliforms, faecal coliforms and E. coli using standard methods. The faecal contamination levels for both rivers exceeded the DWAF and WHO guidelines of <1 000 E. coli per 100 mL water for irrigation of fresh produce intended to be consumed raw. The Plankenburg River sites always had higher coliform contamination levels (1 200 - 13 000 000 MPN per 100 mL water) than the Eerste River site (230 - 79 000 MPN per 100 mL water). There was also a high incidence of index organisms including Salmonella, Staphylococcus, Listeria and endosporeformers. The isolation of intestinal enterococci suggested the presence of potential pathogens that can cause disease outbreaks. The baseline data also showed large variations in microbial loads over the 15 month study with the faecal coliform counts ranging for Plank-1 from 1 200 to 7 000 000 MPN.100mL-1, Plank-3 from 10 to 460 000 MPN.100mL-1 and Eerste-1 from 28 to 79 000 MPN.100mL-1. The water temperatures at all three sites ranged from 12.1° to 21.7°C with COD values in most cases below 100 mg.L-1. As the baseline study showed large variations in microbial loads over the 15 month study period an assessment using the Colilert-18 system of the weekly, daily and hourly variations, for 6 weeks over a period of 4 months was conducted at site Plank-2. This site was specifically used as it is an irrigation source point for nearby fresh produce farmers and is about 2 km further downstream from an informal settlement. The weekly variation trend for total coliforms (TC) showed a decrease over the entire sampling period with the highest count of 3 200 000 MPN.100 mL-1 during the warmer period. The E.coli (Ec) counts showed a similar trend with the highest count of 440 000 MPN.100 mL-1 also in March. The daily variation trends were the same for both the TC and Ec and counts found to increase from Monday to Thursday followed by a decrease to Sunday. The highest counts were on Thursday with average TC and Ec counts of 1 900 000 and 160 000 MPN.100 mL-1, respectively. The hourly variation trends were similar for both TC and Ec with counts increasing from 06h00 to 12h00 followed by a decrease to 18h00. The increases in TC and Ec counts found during the weekly, daily and hourly variation trend studies clearly suggests that the 15 month sampling that was done once a month on Mondays at 08h00 could be considered an underestimation of the contamination levels of the Plankenburg and Eerste Rivers. The overall weekly variation trend for the water temperature showed a decrease over the sampling period while the daily and hourly variation trends showed an increase from 06h00 to 18h00. The overall weekly trend for pH differed from that of the temperature with an increase over the sampling period. The analysis of covariance showed no correlation (p < 0.05) between the physico-chemical (temperature and pH) and the microbial variables (TC and Ec). Therefore it was concluded that temperature and pH had no direct impact on either the total coliform or E. coli counts. Both the Plankenburg and Eerste Rivers were found to be unsuitable for the irrigation of fresh produce intended to be consumed raw due to the high levels of faecal contamination that exceeded DWAF and WHO guidelines. Irrigation with such water could pose a health risk because of presence of potential pathogens that could be carried-over to fresh produce.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die toenemende gebruik van vars produkte hou direk verband met die toename in voedseloordraagbare siektes. Alte dikwels kan dit toegeskryf word aan die teenwoordigheid van patogene in besproeiingswater. In Suid Afrika is riviere die hoofbron van besproeiingswater maar dit is al gevind dat meeste ongeskik is vir gebruik as besproeïngsbron as gevolg van die onaanvaarbare hoe vlakke van fekale besmetting. Die hoofdoel van hierdie studie was om ‘n basislyn evaluasie van die mikrobiologiese kwaliteit van die Plankenburg en Eerste Riviere te doen en ook vas te stel watter bakteriese kontaminante teenwoordig is. Twee bemonsteringpunte is geselekteer vir die Plankenburg (Plank- 1 en -3) en een vir die Eerste Rivier (Eerste-1). Mikrobiologiese analises met standaard metodes het die volgende ingesluit: aërobe kolonie telings (AKT), aërobe en anaërobe spoorevormers, Staphylococcus, Salmonella, Listeria, enterococci, koliforms, fekale koliforms en E. coli met gebruik van standaard metode. Die fekale besmettingsvlakke vir beide riviere het die DWAF en WHO leistreep van <1 000 E. coli per 100 mL water vir besproeiing van vars produkte wat rou geëet kan word oorskry. Die Plankenburg Rivier bemonsteringspunte het in alle gevalle ‘n hoër kolivorm besmettingsvlak (1 200 - 13 000 000 MPN per 100 mL water) as die Eerste Rivier punt (230 - 79 000 MPN per 100 mL water) gehad. Daar was ook ‘n hoër voorkoms van indeksorganismes insluitend Salmonella, Staphylococcus, Listeria en endosporevormers. Die voorkoms van ingewand enterococci was ‘n addisionele aanduiding van die voorkoms van patogene wat ernstige gesondheidsrisikos vir die verbruiker kan inhou. Die basislyn data het groot variasies in die mikrobe vlakke oor die 15 maand van studie getoon. Die faecal koliforms vir Plank- 1 het gewissel van 1 200 tot 7 000 000 MPN.100mL-1, vir Plank-3 van 10 tot 460 000 MPN.100mL-1 en vir Eerste-1 van 28 tot 79 000 MPN.100mL-1. Die water temperature het gewissel van 12.1° tot 21.7°C met die CSB waardes in meeste gevalle minder as 100 mg.L-1. Aangesien daar sulke groot variasies in mikrobe ladings oor die 15 maande tydperk voorgekom het, is die Colilert-18 sisteem gebruik om die weeklikse, daaglikse en uurlikse variasies vas te stel vir 6 weke oor ‘n periode van 4 maande by die Plank-2 bemonsteringspunt. Daar is spesifiek op die bemonsteringspunt gefokus omdat dit as ‘n besproeiingsbron gebruik word deur groente produsente. Dit is ook gelee ongeveer 2 km stroomaf van ‘n informele nedersetting. Die weeklikse variasies in totaal koliforms (TC) het ‘n afname oor die hele bemonsteringsperiode getoon, met die hoogstes telling van 3 200 000 MPN.100 mL-1 gedurende die warmer tydperk. Die E.coli (Ec) tellings het ‘n soortgelyke neiging getoon, met die hoogste telling van 440 000 MPN.100 mL-1 ook in Maart. Die daaglikse neigings was dieselfde vir beide die TC en Ec en die tellings het vermeerder van Maandag tot Donderdag, met ‘n afname tot Sondag. Die hoogste telling was op Donderdag met gemiddelde TC and Ec tellings van 1 900 000 and 160 000 MPN.100 mL-1, respektiewelik. Die uurlikse variasie profiel was soortgelyk vir beide TC and Ec met tellings wat vermeerder het van 06h00 tot 12h00 gevolg deur ‘n afname tot 18h00. Die toename in TC en Ec getalle soos vasgestel gedurende die weeklikse, daaglikse en uurlikse variasie het duidelik getoon dat die bemonsterings wat een maal per maand op Maandae om 08h00 gedurende die 15 maande tydperk uitgevoer is, tot ‘n erg onderskatting van die besmettings vlakke in die Plankenburg en Eerste Riviere gelei het. Die algehele weeklikse variasies vir die water temperatuur het ‘n verlaging oor die bemonsteringstydperk getoon terwyl die daaglikse en uurlikse variasie neigings ‘n verhoging van 06h00 tot 18h00 getoon het. Die weeklikse neigings vir pH het van die van die temperatuur verskil. Die analises van kovariante het geen korrelasie (p < 0.05) tussen die fisiese-chemiese (temperature en pH) parameters en die mikrobe veranderlikes (TC en Ec) getoon nie. Dus is daar afgelei dat temperatuur en pH geen direkte impak op die totale kolivorm of E. coli tellings gehad nie. Die data van die studie het duidelik getoon dat water van beide die Plankenburg en Eerste Riviere nie geskik is vir gebruik vir besproeiing van vars produkte wat rou geëet gaan word nie. In beide gevalle het die fekale besmettingsvlakke die DWAF en WHO leistreep oorskry. Besproeiing met sulke water hou ‘n gesondheidsgevaar in as gevolg van die teenwoordigheid van potensiële patogene wat oorgedra kan word na vars produkte.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/18095
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