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Brazilian Journal of Microbiology
On-line version ISSN 1678-4405
SILVA, Silvia R. Pavan da et al. Microbiological quality of minimally processed vegetables sold in Porto Alegre, Brazil. Braz. J. Microbiol. [online]. 2007, vol.38, n.4, pp. 594-598. ISSN 1678-4405. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1517-83822007000400003.
Minimally processed vegetables go through various steps during their preparation, with many modifications to their natural structure. However, they must maintain the same quality as the fresh produce. The aim of the present study was to quantify mesophilic and psychrotrophic microorganisms and total and faecal coliforms, and to assess the presence of Escherichia coli, parasites, and dirt material in ready-to-eat minimally processed vegetables. Fifty-six samples of minimally processed vegetables were analysed for the presence of mesophilic and psychrotrophic microorganisms by the plate-count method. Monthly means ranged from 4.7x105 to 1.6x108 CFU/g and from 7.9x106 to 2.7x108 CFU/g, respectively for mesophilic and psychrotrophic microorganisms. Coliforms were analysed by the multiple-tube method; total coliforms ranged from <3 to ³ 2.4x104 MPN/g and faecal coliforms from <3 to 1.1x104 MPN/g. Escherichia coli was detected in eight samples. Out of 52 samples, eight (15.3%) contained oocysts of Eimeria spp.. Dirt matter, such as insect body parts and young mites, was also found. Contamination of faecal origin was observed in these samples, suggesting that either the sanitisation of the product was unsuccessful, or soil or irrigation water could be the source of these microorganisms.
Keywords : minimally processed vegetables; microbiologic quality; parasitological analysis.