African Journal of
Microbiology Research

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Microbiol. Res.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1996-0808
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJMR
  • Start Year: 2007
  • Published Articles: 5210

Full Length Research Paper

Microbial levels on the food preparation areas of a typical district hospital in South Africa

G.G. Setlhare, N.J. Malebo*, K. Shale and J.F.R. Lues
Department of Life Science, P/Bag X20539, Central University of Technology, Free State, Bloemfontein, 9300, South Africa.
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 03 June 2013
  •  Published: 30 June 2013


The role of hospital surfaces (including surfaces in food preparation areas) in the transmission of hospital-acquired infections (HAI) has been long recognized; however,evidence regarding this critical information is not well documented. This study was conducted at a typical district hospital in the Free State Province of South Africa. Using swabs, surface samples were collected from nine kitchen areas, quantified and identified using the MALDI-TOF MS and API. Fungal counts (1 x 103 to 2.3 x 105 were higher compared to bacterial counts (1.5 x 103 to 1.1 x 105 A total of 25 bacterial species and 14 fungal species were identified from hospital kitchen surfaces using the MALDI-TOF MS. Candida was the most common fungal genus identified represented by 11 species while Bacillus was the most common bacterial genus isolated represented by 7 species. The presence of species from the genera Acinetobacter,Enterobacter, Pseudomonas and Candida amongst others on kitchen surfaces could have serious consequences as they have been implicated in various studies as probable causes of hospital acquired infections. The study highlights the need to ensure proper cleaning of working surfaces in the kitchen as well as stringent surveillance and monitoring to ensure the minimal contamination of food products prepared for patients.


Key words: Hospital-acquired infection, kitchen, MALDI Biotyper, surface swabs, food safety.