Author(s): Jyoti Rathi, Anju Dhiman *
Fruits and vegetables are dietary source of nutrients, micronutrients and vitamins which help the consumers from vitamin deficiencies, malnutrition and to get rid of a variety of ailments. However, these may be contaminated with different bacterias that may cause food- borne illness. Therefore, it is important to detect and identify the microbial flora i.e. Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Micrococcus luteus, Staphylococcus aureus, Klebsiella pneumoniae etc. associated with fresh fruits and vegetables. Primary characterisation of bacteria can be done by visual colony characters, microscopic characterisation (simple staining and gram staining) and other tests like motility test, oxygen tolerance test, catalase test and secondary identification of the isolates may be done on the basis of biochemical analysis (IMViC tests) and carbohydrate utilization test. The inner part of fruits and vegetables are free of microorganisms, however, the surfaces of raw vegetables and fruits are contaminated with a variety of microorganisms and this depends on microbial population of the environment from which the food was taken, the condition of the raw product, the method of handling, the time and storage conditions. Proper fruits and vegetables handling, hygiene transportation and proper storage is necessary to avoid microbial food spoilage and related health risks.