Microbiological Examination Of Decaying Vegetable (Pumpkin Leaves) Sold At Afia Nine Obiagu, Enugu

Project and Seminar Material for Science Laboratory Technology SLT

Microbiological Examination Of Decaying Vegetable (Pumpkin Leaves) Sold At Afia Nine Obiagu, Enugu


Microbiological Examination of decaying vegetable (pumpkin leave) sold at Afia Nine in Obiagu, Enugu was carried out to obtain the caused organisms, and were examined by culturing them on nutrient agar, MacConkey agar and sabourand dextrose agar for bacteria and fungi organisms that are causing decaying of vegetable (pumpkin leave). Three (3) bacteria and three (3) fungi were isolated. The bacteria include Erwinia carotovora, Pseudomonas solanceatun and Corynebacteria spedonicum while fungi isolated include Aspergilus flavus, Rhizopus and Fusarium graminearum. This project work shows that decaying vegetable (pumpkin leave) were contaminated with pathogenic micro-organisms.

Chapter One

1.0 Introduction

1.1 Background of the Study

Pumpkin leaves, fruits and flowers are all protective health giving foods. They contain vitamins and minerals that the body needs to stay healthy. The dark green pumpkin leaves are an excellent source of vitamin A. The body needs vitamin A for proper growth, health eyes and protection from disease. The pumpkin leaves are also a good source of calcium, vitamin C, Iron and protein. Calcium helps to make strong bones and teeth. Vitamin C keeps the body tissue. Iron helps in keeping the body healthy and the body also needs protein to grow and stay healthy. Pumpkin leaves have much more of vitamin A and Vitamin C. pumpkin flowers can also be eaten for it contains more of vitamin A source. The most nutrients of all pumpkin foods are the leaves. They are an excellent source of vitamin A and also vitamin B (Thiamin) and niacin. Vitamin B and niacin helps the body convert carbohydrate into energy and heat (Anee, 2001).

Pumpkins are use for food. The tender leaves and stems, flowers, fruits and seed of pumpkin can all be eaten. Pumpkin leaves can be stored up to six months but can be achieved when they are not touching each other. It is being preserved by drying or freezing. Drying pumpkin must be done carefully in order to kill all their microorganism that would make it spoils. It needs to be dried in hot sun so that it dries quickly before if spoils. Pumpkin leaves also contain a great amount of vitamin A that is vital for a proper growth, healthy eyes and protection form disease. More ever, pumpkin leaves are great source of calcium and they can be prepared in many ways. First of all, leaves should be washed every time before cooking and placed in boiling water (Roberts et al, 2006).

A pumpkin is a gourd like squash of the genus Cucurbitaand the family Cucurbitaceae which also include gourds. It commonly refers to cultivars of any one of the species Cucurbita pepo, Cueurbita mitta, Cucurbita mayima and is native to North America. They typically have a thick, orange or yellow shell, creased from the stem to the bottom, containing the seeds and pulp. A pumpkin leaves is an important food for many people. It is a very vulnerable because most parts of the plant can be eaten and are rich in nutrients. Pumpkin is easy to grow and one plant in garden can supply pumpkins and green leaves throughout the year. They grow all round the world for a variety of reasons (George et al, 2008).

Pumpkin belongs to the family with scientific name Cucurbitaceae. They do not need much cooking after once they are planted. They can be grown throughout the pacific even on a toll. Pumpkin plants grow easily from ether the leaves or cutting roots. There are many different varieties of pumpkin which differ in flavour, texture, colour and storing quality. Pumpkin grow beat in loose and rich soil. The site of an old nebbish heap is good place or site for growing pumpkins. Brushing the flowers gently with a feather or brush will help to produce more pumpkin (Susan et al, 1998).

1.2 Statement of Problem

Sussan (1998) explain that bacteria and fungi are associated with the decaying of pumpkin leaves. This statement now prompted the need of this project work.

1.3 Aim and Objectives of the Study

The main aim of this study is to ascertain the microbial load that cause decaying in pumpkin leaves.

The following are the specific objectives of the study:

  1. To ascertain microbial safety of decayed pumpkin leaves
  2. To isolate micro-organisms associated with decayed pumpkin leaves
  3. To Identify the microbial types
  4. To determine the microbial load of the sampled decayed pumpkin leaves
  5. To determine the microbial load, of each type

1.4 Significance of the Study

The importance of this project work is to examine the microbial or microbes that are associated with decaying of pumpkin leaves and method of preserving the pumpkin leaves from decaying. The results would equally reveal if the microbial load of the sampled decayed pumpkin leavess was high or low and if the microbial types involved were pathogenic or not. If the microbial load was high and the microbial types were pathogenic, then hygienic practices were not observed during the preparation of the decayed pumpkin leavess and should be introduced. But if the microbial load was low, the microbial types were pathogenic, then hygienic practices were observed during the preparation of the decayed pumpkin leavess and should be encouraged.

1.5 Limitation the Study

This project topic is limited to assay bacterial associated with the micro-biological examination of decaying vegetable pumpkin leaves during storage of which the following problem are faced, handicap, time factors, transportation barrier, unconducive laboratory and contamination which could result from laboratory opening such as windows that are always and constantly left unclosed.

Chapter Two

2.0 Literature Review

2.1 History

The word pumpkin originates from the word pepon which is Greek for “Large melon”. The French adapted this word to Pompon, which the British changed to Pumpion and later, American colonists changed that to the word we use today, “pumpkin”. The origin of pumpkins is not definitively known, although they are thought to have originated in North America. The oldest evidence, pumpkin-related seeds dating between 7000 and 5500BC were found in Mexico. Pumpkin are squash like fruit that range in size from less than 1 pound (0.45 kilograms) to over 1,000 pounds (450 kilogram). Since some pumpkins, the names are frequently used interchangeably. In general, pumpkin stems are more rigid, prickly, and angular (with an approximate five-degree angle) than squash stems which are generally softer, more rounded, and more flared where joined to the fruits (Jerry, 2009).

Pumpkin leaves are monecious, having both male and female flowers on the same plant. The female flower is distinguished by the small ovary at the base of the petals. These bright and colourful flowers have extremely short life spans and may only open for as short a time as one day. The colour of pumpkin is derived from the orange pigments abundant in them. The main nutrients are lutein and both alpha and beta carotene, the latter of which generates vitamin A in the body (Anee, 2001).

Chapter Two

Literature Review

2.1 Introduction

Food plays a vital role in the rise and growth or the fall and decline of a nation. This is because of its effect on the health of the population. Food plays an important role in meeting immediate or urgent food need of people in many cities and towns. Thousands of people depend on food daily. The foods are cheap and easily accessible (Tambekar et al., 2008). Cooked food can be described as the state of food ready for immediate consumption at the point of sale (Eni et al., 2001). It is also defined as food consumed ordinarily in the same state as that in which it is sold by food sellers, hawkers or at local market and does not include nut in the shell and whole, raw fruits, vegetables that are intended for peeling or washing before consumption (Eni et al., 2001). It is a popular option for people ‘‘on the go’’. However, they often come with a lot of risk. This is because cooked foods can be consumed at the point of sale without further cooking or preparation (Castro-Rosas et al., 2007). Cooked food can be raw or cooked, hot or chilled and can be consumed without further heat treatment (Tsang, 2002). Different terms have been used to describe such cooked food. These include: ‘‘convenient’’, ‘‘ready’’, ‘‘instant’’ and ‘‘fast’’ foods.

A general observation of our society shows a social pattern characterised by increased mobility, large numbers of workers and less family-or-home centered activities. This situation has resulted in more cooked foods taken outside home; thus, there is increase in food seller services (Musa and Akande, 2002). The present economic condition has resulted in situation where food vending has become increasingly important in most countries. This contributes to income inflow for individuals involved in selling of these foods (Agwa et al., 2012). The lack of hygiene and sanitation during preparation and marketing of these foods provide ample opportunities for the increase in the number of food-borne pathogens (Desai and Varadaraj, 2009).

In the food matrix, microbes grow in compact ecosystems in which they can exploit metabolites produced by other microbes (Gram et al., 2002). Growth and metabolism of spoilage and pathogenic bacteria produce compounds such as secondary metabolites that can affect the quality of the foods, causing either chemical or microbiological changes in the products (Gram et al., 2002). There is a wide recognition of the role of food in spreading diseases (Marambio et al., 2001). Potential health risks are associated with contamination of foods by E. coli, Salmonella typhi, Pseudomonas spp., S. aureus and Proteus spp. during preparation, post cooking and other handling stages (Garode and Waghode, 2012; Ghosh et al., 2007; Hanoshiro et al., 2004).

Microorganisms are abundant and ubiquitous in nature and their role as causative agents of food-borne illnesses was recognized as far as the 19th century. It was discovered by the end of the 19th century that microorganisms were responsible for a variety of food-borne diseases. Microbial contamination of foods presents challenges that are different from those posed by toxins and physical hazards (Van Ermengen, 1998).

Food-borne diseases are diseases resulting from ingestion of bacteria, toxins and cells produced by microorganisms present in food (Doyle and Evans, 1999). Food-borne illnesses are a major international health problem with consequent economic reduction (Duff et al., 2003). In United States, 38.6 million illnesses were estimated out of which 13.8 million were of food-borne transmission (Ojima et al., 2002). Outbreaks of food-borne diseases are caused by foods that are contaminated intrinsically or during harvesting, and unhygienic practices during processing, preparation and distribution (Torok et al., 1997; Weber et al., 1993). Also, it can be as a result of food not being protected from flies and dust (Bryan et al., 1997; Bryan et al., 1992). Contamination of foods has also been attributed to exposure to polluted environment (Mensah et al., 2002). In many countries, the most common food-borne illness is caused by Staphylococcal intoxication (Talaro et al., 1996). Strains of Staphylococcus have been isolated from foods implicated in illnesses (Adesiyun, 1995; Cencil et al., 2003). Salmonella species have been reported by the United States Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service as one of the most common causes of food borne illnesses associated with meat and poultry products. Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli have been involved in food borne illnesses and have been recovered from various food types, processed or raw (Firstenberg and Sullivan, 1997).

2.2 Microorganisms associated with food items

Bacillus species

Bacillus species are spore forming bacteria that are widely distributed in nature. They are commonly associated with the spoilage of food product such as milk and dairy products, rice, pasta, dried products like spices (Rodriguez-Lozano et al., 2010). It can be present in a wide range of different foodstuffs including both foods of animal and plant origin, and causes food-borne illnesses in humans. They have been traditionally associated with spoilage of food products in many cases with a pH as low as 3.9 (Hanlin, 1998; Opinion of the Scientific Panel on Bio Hazards on B. cereus and other Bacillus species in food stuff, 2005; Rodriguez-lozano et al., 2010). Bacillus cereus is the most important cause of foodborne illnesses in man, while others like Bacillus licheniformis and Bacillus subtilis have occasionally been reported as causes of foodborne illnesses in humans (Opinion of the Scientific Panel on Bio Hazards on B. cereus and other Bacillus species in Foodstuff, 2005).

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Chapter Five

Conclusion and Recommendation

In summary, this study has suggested that various organisms spoil decayed pumpkin leaves with Bacillus spp. as the predominant spoilage organism. Since most of the spoilage organisms are able to produce toxins, decayed pumpkin leaves when sour or spoiled is unfit for human consumption. Thus, it is therefore necessary to preserve pumpkin leaves from spoilage by proper refrigeration or freezing.


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