FERREIRA, Thais Sebastiana Porfida et al. Molecular typing of Clostridium perfringens isolated from swine in slaughterhouses from São Paulo State, Brazil. Cienc. Rural [online]. 2012, vol.42, n.8, pp. 1450-1456. ISSN 0103-8478. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0103-84782012000800020.
Study evaluates presence of Clostridium perfringens in swine carcasses and its relation with food poisoning
Researchers from Faculdade de Medicina Veterinária e Zootecnia of Universidade de São Paulo (USP), in São Paulo, Brazil, demonstrated that the risk of food poisoning by bacterium Clostridium perfringens is low, despite the high incidence of the bactéria in swine carcasses evaluated. The study was published in Ciência Rural journal, v.42, n.8, of August 2012.
The researchers isolated the bacterium C. perfringens from feces and pig carcasses in abattoirs in the State of Sao Paulo and characterized the isolates for the presence of genes encoding enterotoxin, toxin alpha, beta, epsilon, iota and beta 2 by polymerase chain reaction (PCR). After, the isolates were compared by pulsed field gel electrophoresis (PFGE).
The frequency of isolation of the agent in carcasses and intestines of pigs was 58.8% for both types of samples. According to PCR, only the alpha-toxin was detected, and all isolates were negative for toxin beta2 enterotoxin. The risk of food poisoning to consumers of pork is low, since the bacterial strains evaluated did not have the necessary genes to produce enterotoxin, which is the most important factor in human infections.
In practice, the study found that the necessary care for the slaughter and preparation of pig carcasses in abattoirs are being followed and assessed and that the meat sold by these establishments is suitable and safe for consumption. "Simple measures of environmental hygiene, like washing and disinfection of the slaughter of waiting bays and trucks used for transporting animals should be sufficient to diminish the presence of bacteria on carcasses," says researcher Andrea Micke Moreno.
Although many studies describe the poultry, pork and beef as possible sources of infection by this agent to humans, this is the first Brazilian study to assess the presence of Clostridium perfringens in pig carcasses. According to Andrea, the only study found which describes the isolation of bacteria in carcasses of pigs at slaughter was carried out in Taiwan in 2005. In addition to unpublished data, the survey included the use of internationally recognized methods for the genetic characterization of bacteria, such as polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and pulsed field gel electrophoresis (PFGE).