Microbial Quality of Preserved Sardines Sold in Mombasa
The research was conducted in five different market centres in Mombasa to investigate microbiological quality of sardines preserved using different techniques. A total of thirty (30) sardines were randomly sampled and purchased for analysis of pathogenic and spoilage microorganisms. The microbial load (bacteria and moulds) were determined using pour plate technique. The results showed that out of the six preservation techniques (smoking, drying, salting, freezing, frying and canning) sardines preserved using five of the techniques (83.3%) were contaminated with Vibrio species while two techniques (33.3%) allowed the growth of Salmonella species. Other bacterial species found in preserved sardines included Micrococcus, Staphylococcu and Listeria species among many others. There were also five species of fungi isolated from preserved sardines including Aspergillus species which is of clinical importance. The presence of pathogenic bacteria and fungi of clinical importance are some of the possible health risks that may be associated with consumption of preserved sardines sold in Mombasa. This may possess real health problems unless measures are put in place to prevent microbial contamination of preserved sardines. The total microbial contamination of sardine samples were compared to International Commission on Microbiological Specifications for Foods (ICMSF, 1998) shown in appendix I. Based on total microbial considering bacteria and fungi, smoked sardines had 3.57 x 103, dried 5.096 x 103, salted 2.528 x 103, frozen 3.74 x 102, fried 3.72 x 102 and canned 78 cfu. This showed that dried sardines were the most contaminated while canned were least contaminated.
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