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Anthropogenic impact on the presence of L. monocytogenes in soil, fruits, and vegetables

Szymczak, Barbara, Szymczak, Mariusz, Sawicki, Wojciech, Dąbrowski, Waldemar
Folia microbiologica 2014 v.59 no.1 pp. 23-29
Listeria monocytogenes, anthropogenic activities, arable soils, bacteria, cattle, feces, fertilizers, food processing plants, forests, fruits, meadows, men, parsley, pastures, potatoes, soil sampling, strawberries, wastelands, wild animals
The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of Listeria sp. and Listeria monocytogenes in soil samples with reference to type of fertilizers (natural and artificial) and distance from places intensively exploited by men, as well as to determine the relationship between the presence of L. monocytogenes in the soil and in fruits and vegetables. The examined 1,000 soil samples originated from 15 different areas, whilst 140 samples of fruits and 210 samples of vegetables were collected from those areas. L. monocytogenes was isolated only from 5.5 % of all soil samples coming exclusively from meadows intensively grazed by cattle (27.8 %) and areas near food processing plants (25 %) and wild animal forests (24 %). Listeria sp. and L. monocytogenes were not present on artificially fertilized areas and wastelands. L. monocytogenes was detected in 10 % of samples of strawberry, 15 % of potato samples, and 5 % of parsley samples. Our data indicate that Listeria spp. and particularly L. monocytogenes were found in the soil from (1) arable lands fertilized with manure, (2) pasture (the land fertilized with feces of domestic animals), and (3) forests (again, the land fertilized with feces of animals, not domestic but wild). The bacteria were not detected in the soil samples collected at (1) artificially fertilized arable lands and (2) wastelands (the lands that were not fertilized with manure or animal feces). Moreover, a correlation was determined in the presence of L. monocytogenes between soil samples and samples of the examined fruits and vegetables.