Ms Zisipho Ntshanka
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a multifaceted, global medical issue, which represents an immediate danger to the health security of the public. Although fresh produce are widely desired due to their health benefits, their consumption has also been associated with consumer risks and as such, ready-to-eat vegetables have been associated with increasing outbreaks of foodborne infections. Furthermore, the occurrence of resistance against antimicrobials used against infective microbes in fresh produce adds to the widespread of resistances in various taxonomic ranks. This study was aimed at determining the antibiotic resistance profile of coliform bacteria recovered from fresh vegetables in the Amathole District Municipality in the Eastern Cape Province. A total of 10 vegetable samples were randomly collected from two commercial farms and two retail stores for the isolation and antibiotic susceptibility testing of coliform bacteria. The vegetable samples were aseptically chopped and macerated in normal saline, and enriched in Brain Heart Infusion Broth and Nutrient broth, simultaneously for the isolation of coliform bacteria. Following enrichment, the samples were cultured and purified on E.coli chromogenic agar and nutrient agar, respectively. For each sample, five distinct presumptive isolates were randomly picked and analysed for antimicrobial susceptibility profiling on Muller-Hinton agar. The coliform bacteria isolated from fresh vegetables used in this study were found to have high resistance against some of the antibiotics used, these include in the following order: vancomycin and teicoplanin (100%), linezolid (98%), erythromycin (76%), and a few others showed resistance against nitrofurantoin, imipenem, trimeth-sulfamethox, and tetracycline. The results obtained suggest that the fresh vegetables analysed in this study are contaminated with multiple antibiotic resistant coliform bacteria, which may be transferred to humans upon consumption particularly in those vegetables eaten without further processing and this may constitute a threat to the public health in the study area.