Nav: Home

Kitchen towels could contribute to the growth of potential pathogens that cause food poisoning

June 09, 2018

June 9, 2018 - Atlanta, GA - Researchers from the University of Mauritius have shown that factors such as family size, type of diet, multi-usage of towels, among other factors, impact the growth of pathogens on kitchen towels, potentially causing food poisoning. The research is presented at ASM Microbe, the annual meeting of the American Society for Microbiology, held from June 7th to June 11th in Atlanta, Georgia.

"Our study demonstrates that the family composition and hygienic practices in the kitchen affected the microbial load of kitchen towels," said Dr. Biranjia-Hurdoyal."We also found that diet, type of use and moist kitchen towels could be very important in promoting the growth of potential pathogens responsible for food poisoning," she said.

49% of the kitchen towels collected in the study had bacterial growth which increased in number with extended family, presence on children and increasing family size. The towels for multipurpose usage (wiping utensils, drying hands, holding hot utensils, wiping/cleaning surfaces) had a higher bacterial count than single-use towels and humid towels showed higher bacterial count than the dry ones. Out of the 49 samples which were positive for bacterial growth, 36.7% grew coliforms, 36.7% Enterococcus spp and 14.3% S. aureus.

"In this study, we investigated the potential role of kitchen towels in cross-contamination in the kitchen and various factors affecting the microbial profile and load of kitchen towels," said Dr. Susheela D. Biranjia-Hurdoyal, Senior Lecturer, Department of Health Sciences, University of Mauritius, lead author on the study.

A total of 100 kitchen towels were collected after one month of use. The researchers cultured the bacteria and identified them by standard biochemical tests. They also determined the bacterial load on the towels.

S. aureus was isolated at a higher rate from families of lower socio-economic status and those with children. The risk of having coliforms (Escherichia coli) was higher from humid towels than the dried ones, from multipurpose towels than single-use ones and from families on non-vegetarian diets.

Coliform and S. aureus were detected at significantly higher prevalence from families with non-vegetarian diets. Escherichia coli is a normal flora of human intestine and it is released in large numbers in human feces. The presence of Escherichia coli indicates possible fecal contamination and lack of hygiene practices.

"The data indicated that unhygienic practices while handling non-vegetarian food could be common in the kitchen," said Dr. Biranjia-Hurdoyal. The presence of potential pathogens from the kitchen towels indicates that they could be responsible for cross-contamination in the kitchen and could lead to food poisoning. "Humid towels and multipurpose usage of kitchen towels should be discouraged. Bigger families with children and elderly members should be especially vigilant to hygiene in the kitchen," she said.
-end-
This study was done by Moodelly V as part of an undergraduate project under the supervision of Susheela D Biranjia-Hurdoyal, Senior Lecturer from the Department of Health Sciences, University of Mauritius, Mauritius. The practical component of the work was funded by the University of Mauritius.

ASM Microbe, the annual meeting of the American Society for Microbiology showcases the best microbial sciences in the world and provides a one-of-a-kind forum to explore the complete spectrum of microbiology. ASM Microbe is held in Atlanta, GA from June 7-11, 2018.

The American Society for Microbiology is the largest single life science society, composed of more than 30,000 scientists and health professionals. ASM's mission is to promote and advance the microbial sciences.

ASM advances the microbial sciences through conferences, publications, certifications and educational opportunities. It enhances laboratory capacity around the globe through training and resources. It provides a network for scientists in academia, industry and clinical settings. Additionally, ASM promotes a deeper understanding of the microbial sciences to diverse audiences.

American Society for Microbiology

Related Microbiology Articles:

79 Fellows elected to the American Academy of Microbiology
In January of 2015, the American Academy of Microbiology elected 79 new Fellows.
New discovery in the microbiology of serious human disease
Previously undiscovered secrets of how human cells interact with a bacterium which causes a serious human disease have been revealed in new research by microbiologists at The University of Nottingham.
4 cells turn seabed microbiology upside down
With DNA from just four cells, researchers reveal how some of the world's most abundant organisms play a key role in carbon cycling in the seabed.
87 scientists elected to the American Academy of Microbiology
Eighty-seven microbiologists have been elected to Fellowship in the American Academy of Microbiology.
Tips from the journals of the American Society for Microbiology
This release includes information about these articles: Specific Bacterial Species May Initiate, Maintain Crohn's; Bacteria Involved in Sewer Pipe Corrosion Identified; Antibodies to Immune Cells Protect Eyes In Pseudomonas Infection; Dangerous Form of MRSA, Endemic In Many US Hospitals, Increasing in UK.
Tips from the journals of the American Society for Microbiology
Upcoming articles from the journals of the American Society for Microbiology include:
Microbiology brought to life in Nottingham
Antimicrobial insect brains, mouth bacteria behaving badly and the hundreds of microbial communities that lurk in household dust are just some of the highlights at the Society for General Microbiology's autumn meeting in Nottingham next week.
Tips from the journals of the American Society for Microbiology
The following are tips from the journals of the American Society for Microbiology:
Tips from the journals of the American Society for Microbiology
The following are tips from the Journals of the American Society for Microbiology:
New text focuses on microbiology of historic artifacts
Historic and culturally important artifacts, like all materials, are vulnerable to microbial attack.

Related Microbiology Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Don't Fear Math
Why do many of us hate, even fear math? Why are we convinced we're bad at it? This hour, TED speakers explore the myths we tell ourselves and how changing our approach can unlock the beauty of math. Guests include budgeting specialist Phylecia Jones, mathematician and educator Dan Finkel, math teacher Eddie Woo, educator Masha Gershman, and radio personality and eternal math nerd Adam Spencer.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#517 Life in Plastic, Not Fantastic
Our modern lives run on plastic. It's in the computers and phones we use. It's in our clothing, it wraps our food. It surrounds us every day, and when we throw it out, it's devastating for the environment. This week we air a live show we recorded at the 2019 Advancement of Science meeting in Washington, D.C., where Bethany Brookshire sat down with three plastics researchers - Christina Simkanin, Chelsea Rochman, and Jennifer Provencher - and a live audience to discuss plastics in our oceans. Where they are, where they are going, and what they carry with them. Related links:...