Water Activity Profile and Microbial Safety of Hot Pepper Sauce “Shito”

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November, 2018
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Hot pepper sauce “shito” is one of the commonly used products in most Ghanaian homes, schools, restaurants etc, which sometimes serves as condiments. This study therefore seeks to determine the water activity profile and microbial safety of hot pepper sauce ‘shito’. “Shito” samples were purchased in the Kumasi Metropolis from Food and Drugs Authority registered and non-registered manufacturers. Water Activity and microbial contamination were determined using standard methods. Water Activity (aw) for the results for FDA registered products were between 0.51 and 0.88 while those for product not registered with the FDA were between 0.52 and 0.95. FDA Registered shito samples recorded a significant difference lower total aerobic count (23%) as compared to unregistered samples (46%). The morphological characterization on the agar plates indicated the presence of Escherichia coli. and some suspected Enterococci faecalis spp. However, no Salmonellaspp. was detected in the samples. A direct correlation was found between total aerobic count and coliform assay for samples, which failed the TAC assay. The presence of E.coli indicated the poor personal hygiene of the some of the shito manufacturers. “Shito” produced by FDA registered caterers are safer and might have longer shelf life due to their lower aw and microbial load as compared to non-FDA registered caterers.
A thesis submitted to the Department of Food Science and Technology, College of Science, in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Food Quality Management.