Multiple Antibiotic-resistant Bacteria on Fluted Pumpkin Leaves, a Herb of Therapeutic Value

Oluwatoyin A. Igbeneghu, Abdulrasheed B. Abdu


Fluted pumpkin (Telfairia occidentalis) is a minimally-processed green leafy vegetable traditionally used for its antianaemic properties in the form of leaf juice without a heating or inactivation step before consumption. The aim of the study was to assess the presence of surface microbiota on T. occidentalis leaves and also to determine the antimicrobial susceptibility of isolated organisms. Bacterial contaminants on 50 samples of T. occidentalis leaves were isolated and characterized using standard biochemical methods and the antimicrobial susceptibility of isolated organisms was determined using the antibiotic disc diffusion assay. The results obtained show that the leaves of T. occidentalis is contaminated with organisms which included Enterobacter agglomerans (25.9%), Proteus vulgaris (24.9%), Klebsiella spp. (2.6%), and Serratia liquefaciens (2.1%). Other bacterial isolates recovered in order of frequency included: Staphylococcus spp. (33.7%), Bacillus spp. (8.3%), and Pseudomonas fluorescens (2.6%). Of the 193 bacterial isolates from the leaves of T.occidentalis samples tested for antimicrobial resistance, all (100%) were found to be resistant to ampicillin, cloxacillin, augmentin, erythromycin, and tetracycline while 96% of the isolates were resistant to cephalothin. Resistance to trimethoprim (93%) and gentamicin (83%) was also observed. Approximately, 22% of the isolates were resistant to ciprofloxacin; however, only 11 (5.8%) were resistant to ofloxacin. Thus, uncooked T. occidentalis is a potential source of highly-resistant epiphytic bacteria which could be opportunistic pathogens in consumers.

Key words: Antianaemic; Antimicrobial resistance; Epiphytic bacteria; Fluted pumpkin; Green leafy vegetable; Pathogens; Nigeria

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