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International Journal of Microbiology
Volume 2012, Article ID 426241, 7 pages
Research Article

Diversity of Antimicrobial Resistance and Virulence Determinants in Pseudomonas aeruginosa Associated with Fresh Vegetables

1Department of Microbiology, Bureau of Standards Jamaica, Kingston 10, Jamaica
2Biochemistry Section, Department of Basic Medical Sciences, University of the West Indies, Mona, Kingston 7, Jamaica

Received 5 September 2012; Accepted 9 October 2012

Academic Editor: Isabel Sá-Correia

Copyright © 2012 Kashina Allydice-Francis and Paul D. Brown. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


With the increased focus on healthy eating and consuming raw vegetables, this study assessed the extent of contamination of fresh vegetables by Pseudomonas aeruginosa in Jamaica and examined the antibiotic susceptibility profiles and the presence of various virulence associated determinants of P. aeruginosa. Analyses indicated that vegetables from retail markets and supermarkets were widely contaminated by P. aeruginosa; produce from markets were more frequently contaminated, but the difference was not significant. Lettuce and carrots were the most frequently contaminated vegetables, while tomatoes were the least. Pigment production (Pyoverdine, pyocyanin, pyomelanin and pyorubin), fluorescein and alginate were common in these isolates. Imipenem, gentamicin and ciprofloxacin were the most inhibitory antimicrobial agents. However, isolates were resistant or showed reduced susceptibility to ampicillin, chloramphenicol, sulphamethoxazole/trimethoprim and aztreonam, and up to 35% of the isolates were resistant to four antimicrobial agents. As many as 30% of the isolates were positive for the fpv1 gene, and 13% had multiple genes. Sixty-four percent of the isolates harboured an exoenzyme gene (exoS, exoT, exoU or exoY), and multiple exo genes were common. We conclude that P. aeruginosa is a major contaminant of fresh vegetables, which might be a source of infection for susceptible persons within the community.