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Foods 2018, 7(12), 206;

Effects of Water Quality and Post-Harvest Handling on Microbiological Contamination of Lettuce at Urban and Peri-Urban Locations of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso

Organic Plant Production and Agroecosystems Research in the Tropics and Subtropics (OPATS), Universität Kassel, Steinstrasse 19, D-37213 Witzenhausen, Germany
Laboratoire National de Santé Publique, 09 B.P. 24, Ouagadougou 09, Burkina Faso
International Water Management Institute (IWMI), West Africa Office, PMB CT 112 Cantonments, Accra, Ghana
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 11 September 2018 / Revised: 11 December 2018 / Accepted: 12 December 2018 / Published: 16 December 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microbiological Safety of Foods)
PDF [982 KB, uploaded 16 December 2018]


Vegetable production in urban gardens of Ouagadougou contributes to food security, but water for irrigation is often of low quality. This is particularly acute if irrigation water is taken from wastewater polluted channels. This study aimed at (i) verifying to what degree irrigation water quality is correlated with contamination of lettuce with Escherichia coli, total coliforms, and Salmonella spp., and (ii) assessing effects of post-harvest handling on pathogen development during the trade chain. We tested pathogen removal efficiency on lettuce by applying post-harvest washing. Irrigation water of production areas in Ouagadougou (n = 10) showed a mean E. coli load of 2.1 × 105 CFU 100 mL−1. In 60% of the cases, irrigation water did not meet the standards of the World Health Organization (WHO) for safe irrigation water, and in 30% of the cases, irrigation water was contaminated with Salmonella spp. Loads of total coliforms on lettuce leaves ranged from 2.9 × 103 CFU g−1 to 1.3 × 106 CFU g−1, while E. coli averaged 1.1 × 102 CFU g−1. Results on post-harvest handling revealed that microbial loads increased along the trade chain. Overall, half of all lettuce samples (n = 60) were tested positively for Salmonella spp. The experiment showed that appropriate post-harvest handling could prevent the increase of total coliforms. View Full-Text
Keywords: urban agriculture; microbiological contamination; lettuce; trade chain urban agriculture; microbiological contamination; lettuce; trade chain

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Dao, J.; Stenchly, K.; Traoré, O.; Amoah, P.; Buerkert, A. Effects of Water Quality and Post-Harvest Handling on Microbiological Contamination of Lettuce at Urban and Peri-Urban Locations of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. Foods 2018, 7, 206.

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