Prevalence of multidrug-resistant bacteria on fresh vegetables collected from farmers' markets in Connecticut

Deepti Prasad Karumathil, Hsin Bai Yin, Anup Kollanoor-Johny, Kumar Venkitanarayanan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


This study determined the prevalence of multidrug-resistant (MDR) Acinetobacter baumannii on fresh vegetables collected from farmers' markets in Connecticut. One hundred samples each of fresh carrots, potatoes, and lettuce were sampled and streaked on selective media, namely Leeds Acinetobacter and MDR Acinetobacter agars. All morphologically different colonies from MDR Acinetobacter agar were identified by using Gram staining, biochemical tests, and PCR. In addition, susceptibility of the isolates to 10 antibiotics commonly used in humans, namely imipenem, ceftriaxone, cefepime, minocycline, erythromycin, colistin-sulfate, streptomycin, neomycin, doxycycline, and rifampin was determined by using an antibiotic disk diffusion assay. The results revealed that only two samples of potato and one sample of lettuce yielded A. baumannii. In addition, all carrot samples were found to be negative for the organism. However, several other opportunistic, MDR human pathogens, such as Burkholderia cepacia (1% potatoes, 5% carrots, and none in lettuce), Stenotrophomonas maltophilia (6% potatoes, 2% lettuce, and none in carrots), and Pseudomonas luteola (9% potatoes, 3% carrots, and none in lettuce) were recovered from the vegetables. Antibiotic susceptibility screening of the isolates revealed high resistance rates for the following: ceftriaxone (6 of 6), colistin-sulfate (5 of 6), erythromycin (5 of 6), and streptomycin (4 of 6) in B. cepacia; colistin-sulfate (11 of 11) and imipenem (10 of 11) in P. luteola; colistin-sulfate (8 of 8), ceftriaxone (8 of 8), cefepime (7 of 8), erythromycin (5 of 8), and imipenem (4 of 8) in S. maltophilia; and imipenem (3 of 3), ceftriaxone (3 of 3), erythromycin (3 of 3), and streptomycin (3 of 3) in A. baumannii. The results revealed the presence of MDR bacteria, including human pathogens on fresh produce, thereby highlighting the potential health risk in consumers, especially those with a compromised immune system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1446-1451
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of food protection
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2016


  • Acinetobacter baumannii
  • Antibiotic resistance
  • Farmers' market
  • Multidrug-resistant bacteria
  • Vegetables


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