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Microbial contamination in vegetables due to irrigation with partially treated municipal wastewater in a tropical city

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A total of 144 samples of water used for irrigation were collected from Dinapur, DLW sewage treatment plant and river water of Ganga at Rajghat and 258 irrigated vegetable samples were collected from nearby agricultural fields in the close vicinity of three treatment plants and examined using standard procedures for coliform and viable counts and the presence of Escherichia coli, Salmonella, Clostridium and Vibrio during the winter and rainy seasons. Irrigation water from Rajghat drain had significantly higher coliform counts by location and season than the water from the Dinapur and DLW. Although all the vegetables had coliform counts higher than the recommended standard (range 3.40 - 6.38 log10 cfuml-1), spinach and cabbage had significantly higher (p < 0.05) counts compared to other vegetables during the dry season. Salmonella was significantly more likely to be detected during the rainy season than during the dry season. Contaminated vegetable intake may pose a serious threat to human health.
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Keywords: Salmonella; microbial contamination; vegetables; wastewater

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Forest Ecology Biodiversity and Environmental Sciences, Mizoram Central University, Tanhril, Aizawl, India

Publication date: October 1, 2007

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