BACKGROUND: Irrigation water is known to be one of the major source of bacterial contamination in produce. In addition, anti-microbial resistance (AMR) bacteria in food products possess serious threat to humans. This study aimed at investigating the prevalence of foodborne bacteria in irrigation water and evaluating their anti-microbial susceptibility.
METHODS AND RESULTS: Surface water (n = 66 sites) and groundwater (n = 40 sites) were collected in April, July, and October 2019 in Gyeongi and Gangwon province of South Korea. To evaluate the safety of water, fecal indicators (Escherichia coli) and foodborne pathogens (E. coli O157:H7, Salmonella spp., Listeria monocytogenes) were examined. E. coli isolated from water were also tested on antimicrobial susceptibility using the VITEK2 System. Overall, detection rate of foodborne pathogens in July was highest among three months. For surface water, pathogenic E. coli, Salmonella and L. monocytogenes were detected in 24%, 3% and 3% water, respectively. Only one groundwater was contaminated with pathogenic E. coli. The 343 E. coli isolates tested, 22.7% of them were resistant to one or more antimicrobials. The highest resistance rate was observed for ampicillin (18.7%), followed by trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole(7.0%), ciprofloxacin(6.7%).
CONCLUSION: To enhance the safety of agricultural products, it is necessary to introduce the safety practice of water