Molecular identification and microbiological evaluation of isolates from equipments and food contact surfaces in a hospital Food and Nutrition Unit

Abstract The hygienic and sanitary control in Food and Nutrition Units (FNU) is considered a standard procedure to produce adequate meals and reduce the risk of foodborne diseases and hospital infections. This study aimed to evaluate the isolation and identification of bacteria from equipment and food contact surfaces in a hospital FNU as well as to evaluate the sanitary condition. Likewise, it was analyzed the adhesion of the microorganisms on polyethylene cutting boards. The presence of aerobic mesophilic microorganisms, yeasts, molds, coagulase-positive staphylococci, coliform and fecal coliform, and Escherichia coli were analyzed on eating tables, countertop surfaces and cutting boards used for meat or vegetable handling, and equipment such as microwaves and refrigerators. The molecular identification it was done by 16S rRNA gene sequencing. The adhesion of the microorganisms (biofilm formation) on meat and vegetable cutting boards was also evaluated by scanning electron microscopy. The results showed high numbers of all microorganisms, except for E. coli , which was not observed in the samples. The molecular analysis identified species of the Enterobacteriaceae family and species of the Pseudomonadaceae family. Scanning electron microscopy analyses revealed bacterial adhesion on the cutting board surfaces. The results obtained in this study indicated that the hygienic conditions of surfaces like plastic cutting boards and equipment in this hospital FNU were inadequate. The achievement and application of standard operating procedures could positively help in the standardization of sanitary control, reducing the microbial contamination and providing a safe food to hospitalized patients.