Evaluating the quality, microbial load and pesticide residue on some selected vegetables in three major markets in the Ho Municipality of the Volta Region of Ghana

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The study was carried out to analyse the vitamin content, microbial load and pesticide residues on vegetables sold in three major markets in the Ho municipality. Twelve (12) samples made up of four (4) vegetable types were randomly sampled from three (3) local markets and were analysed for vitamin content, microbial loads and pesticide residues using appropriate technique, media and Gas chromatography method. (Vitamin A) was highest among (vitamins A, C and D) content in vegetables sampled from the three markets with vegetables from Shia market having the highest (Vitamin A) content of (78.40mg/g). Among the vegetables, cabbage recorded the highest (vitamin A) content of (91.97mg/g) with cabbage from Ho Dome market having the highest (Vitamin A) content. Tomatoes from the Ho central market however recorded the lowest (Vitamin A) content of (51.84mg/g). Lettuce from Ho Dome market had the highest (Vitamin C) content of (45.21mg/g). (Vitamin D) was lowest among the vitamins tested in vegetables selected from the three markets. Ho central market recorded the highest faecal enterococci load of (6.04 log cfu/g) on vegetables whiles Ho Dome market recorded the least. Cabbage from Ho central market recorded the highest faecal enterococci loads of (8.92 log cfu-1) with tomatoes from the Ho central market recording the lowest faecal enterococci load of (2.58 log cfu-1). In all faecal coliform were highest on vegetables from shia market meaning the dirties; with lettuce from shia market having the highest load of (6.95 log cfu-1) and the least load of (5.41 log cfu-1) on tomatoes from Ho dome market. Cabbage recorded the highest E.coli loads of (5.38 log cfu-1) with tomatoes having the lowest load of (4.35 log cfu -1). Lettuce from Ho central market had the highest E.coli loads of (5.55 log cfu-1). Lettuce from Ho Dome was found to be highest in total mould count. Lettuce was again highest in total viable count having a total viable count of (5.58 log cfu -1). All microbes detected on vegetable samples were above the recommended level of (1x103 100g-1) fresh weight. Pesticides like delta HCH, Heptachlor, Aldrin, p,p’-DDT and p,p’-DDE were also detected on all vegetable sampled; and all delta HCH, Aldrin, Heptachlor, p,p’-DDT, o,p-DDT, p,p-DDE pesticides detected on interaction effects of market and vegetable type were all above MRL recommended. The survey further revealed (80%) of farmers added fertilizer (organic and inorganic) to the soil; 28(93%) applied pesticides at preharvest level and 18(60%) re-used fertilizers containers as packaging material. The results also give an indication that vegetable growers in the study area use some of the restricted/banned pesticides to control pests on their vegetable farms. Education should be intensifying on safe and proper handling of food to ensure food safety. There should be tougher laws to regulate imports and use of pesticide in the country.
A thesis submitted to the School of Graduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of a Master of Philosophy degree in Postharvest Technology, 2014