Bacterial Contamination of Red Palm Oil sold in Major Markets in Awka, Anambra State, Nigeria.

Onuorah Samuel, Odibo Frederick, Orji Michael


Palm oil is derived from the reddish pulp of the fruit of the oil palm tree and is the most consumed vegetable oil in Nigeria. It is however susceptible to deterioration and spoilage by microorganisms. The presence of microorganisms decreases the quality of palm oil and the consumption of raw palm oil could have serious health implications, therefore in this work, the bacteria in the palm oil sold in five major markets in Awka, Anambra State, Nigeria were isolated, characterized and identified and their lipolytic activity was determined using standard methods. The total bacterial counts ranged from 1.4x102 to 5.0x102cfu/ml while the total coliform counts were 0.0x102 to 1.5x102cfu/ml. The bacterial isolates were Pseudomonas aeruginosa (17.2%), Bacillus cereus (33.9%), Staphylococcus aureus (16.7%) Proteus vulgaris (5.0%), Enterobacter aerogenes (14.4%) Micrococcus luteus (5.6%) and Klebsiella aerogenes (7.2%). Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Bacillus cereus only had lipolytic activity. These bacteria are opportunistic pathogens which are known to cause diseases of humans. Good hygienic practices during the processing, production, distribution, storage and handling by both the processors and marketers must be observed. In addition, palm oil must be heated before consumption to reduce the bacterial load and its associated health risk. 


Palm oil, Bacteria, Major Markets, Awka, Nigeria, Oil Palm Tree, Lipolytic Activity.


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