The aim of this study was to evaluate the safety of traditional dried anchovies by characterizing their microbial flora. Dried anchovies were stored at ambient temperature for three months and total aerobic bacterial (TAB), Staphylococcus aureus, Enterobacteriaceae, histidine decarboxylating bacterial (HDB), lysine decarboxylating bacterial (LDB) and ornithine decarboxylating bacterial (ODB) counts were determined. Dried anchovies had an initially load of log 4.58, log 3.8, < log 1, < log 1, log 4.03 and log 3.7 cfu/g for TAB, S. aureus, Enterobacteriaceae, HDB, LDB and ODB, respectively. During ambient storage, the bacteria load did not change significantly (p> 0.05). In total, 184 bacterial isolates representing 15 genera and 18 species were isolated and identified. A high diversity of pathogens and non-pathogens were found. Acinetobacter lwoffiidominated the flora (22%) followed by S. aureus (19%), Moraxella spp. (13%) andEnterobacter cloacae (10%). Ornithine decarboxylating bacteria were the most frequently isolated of the amino acid decarboxylating bacteria (18%) followed by LDB (15%) and HDB (13%). All bacterial species and groups listed were found throughout the storage period. This study showed that anchovies were heavily contaminated with pathogens not traditionally associated with foodborne disease which represent a risk factor for the safety of dried anchovies.
Key words: Ambient storage, decarboxylating bacteria, dried anchovies.
Abbreviations: TAB, Total aerobic bacterial; HDB, histidine decarboxylating bacterial;LDB, lysine decarboxylating bacterial; ODB, ornithine decarboxylating bacterial; TAL,thin agar layers; TSA, tryptone soya agar.
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