Article Title: Verotoxigenic Potential and Antibiotic Sensitivity Pattern of Escherichia Coli Isolated From Fresh Vegetables Sold in Selected Cities in Nigeria.
Escherichia coli, isolated from fresh vegetables (Cabbage, Carrot and Lettuce) sampled from four major Nigerian cities, namely Abuja, Benin City, Lagos and Onitsha were investigated for the presence Shiga toxin (stx1 and stx2) genes using PCR technique. Their verotoxigenic potentials using tissue culture assay on Vero cells and antibiotic susceptibility pattern using standard microbiological techniques were also performed. Result of the investigation reveal that out of the total 2400 samples collected, 634 (26.42%) had E. coli. Total number of E. coli isolated from the 634 samples was 1352. Shiga toxin gene analysis of the isolates reveal that 447(33.06%) harboured at least one form of stx gene, with 284(21.01%) having stx1 gene alone, 157 (11.61%) stx2 gene alone, 6(0.44%) harbouring both stx 1 and stx 2 genes while 905 (66.94%) had none of the two genes. Tissue culture assay on Vero cells shows that over 80% isolates without the genes exhibited weak cytotoxic effect whereas over 80% of those with the genes exhibited more than strong cytotoxic effect. Antibiotic susceptibility assay shows that 642(47.49%) of the total isolates were resistant to one or more of the antibiotics used. The findings from this study provide evidence of the presence of potential verotoxigenic E. coli in vegetables sold in our markets. This can be of serious health challenge as most of these vegetable produce are consumed with little or no further processing.