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Prevalence and characterization of Clostridium perfringens from spices in Argentina.

Abstract
Spices can present high microbial counts and Clostridium perfringens, Bacillus cereus, Salmonella and Shigella, among others have been isolated from spices. C. perfringens is an important pathogen agent causing, among other diseases, enteritis in humans caused by C. perfringens enterotoxin (CPE) which causes human food poisoning and enterotoxemia in domestic animals. The aims of the present work were (i) to establish the hygienic sanitary quality of some spices in San Luis, Argentina; (ii) to determine the presence of C. perfringens in these spices by means of the most probable number (MPN) and count on plate methods; (iii) to characterize the enterotoxigenic strains of C. perfringens by PCR and immunological methods such as reverse passive latex agglutination (RPLA) and (iv) to type by PCR C. perfringens strains isolated. A total of 115 samples of spices, 67 of which were purchased in local retail stores and 48 domestically collected were analysed. Total aerobe counts on tryptone glucose yeast extract agar medium of the 115 samples were between <10 and 10(6) CFU/g. The colifecal counts using Mac Conkey broth of the 115 samples were <4-10(3)CFU/g, with 28 samples (24.34%) exceeding the limit established by the Spanish Alimentary Code (10 CFU/g) while 2 samples (1.73%) had a sulfite reducing anaerobe load above standard limits. A total of 14 C. perfringens strains (12.17%) were isolated and characterized from 115 samples by the standard biochemical tests. Four of which (28.60%) turned out to be enterotoxigenic by PCR and RPLA. In order to type C. perfringens strains based on their main toxins, the 14 strains were analysed by PCR. All strains belonged to type A. All RPLA positive strains were cpe(+) by PCR. The percentage of enterotoxigenic strains was more elevated that those reported in other studies for this type of sample. These results indicate that sanitary conditions in different production stages of species must be improved to reduce health hazards. The high percentage (24.34%) of samples with colifecal values above standard limits is an indication of deficient sanitary conditions. These results suggest the need to provide legislation on the sanitary and hygienic quality of spices in our country.
AuthorsMilton Osmar Aguilera, Patricia Virginia Stagnitta, Blas Micalizzi, Ana María Stefanini de Guzmán
JournalAnaerobe (Anaerobe) Vol. 11 Issue 6 Pg. 327-34 (Dec 2005) ISSN: 1075-9964 [Print] England
PMID16701595 (Publication Type: Journal Article)

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