American Journal of Epidemiology and Infectious Disease
ISSN (Print): 2333-116X ISSN (Online): 2333-1275 Website: Editor-in-chief: Apply for this position
Open Access
Journal Browser
American Journal of Epidemiology and Infectious Disease. 2017, 5(1), 1-7
DOI: 10.12691/ajeid-5-1-1
Open AccessArticle

Microbial Contamination of House Hold Refrigerators in Calabar Metropolis-Nigeria

Iquo Bassey Otu-Bassey1, Itodo Sunday Ewaoche1, , Blessing Felix Okon1 and Usang Akedor Ibor1

1Medical Parasitology/Enterobiasis, Medical Laboratory Science Department, University of Calabar, Calabar, Nigeria

Pub. Date: February 11, 2017

Cite this paper:
Iquo Bassey Otu-Bassey, Itodo Sunday Ewaoche, Blessing Felix Okon and Usang Akedor Ibor. Microbial Contamination of House Hold Refrigerators in Calabar Metropolis-Nigeria. American Journal of Epidemiology and Infectious Disease. 2017; 5(1):1-7. doi: 10.12691/ajeid-5-1-1


Background: Microorganisms are ubiquitous in nature, its presence in a particular location and condition suitable for it multiplication dictate it pathogenicity or otherwise. Objective: To investigate the microbiological load and the potential risk of refrigerated food and water are exposed to in Calabar metropolis. Design: Sterile swab sticks moistened with peptone water were used to swab the refrigerator parts of interest. The swabs were aseptically transferred to appropriate culture media and the cultures incubated at 37¡ãC for 24 hours. Setting: The base, shelves and inner sides of 50 randomly selected household refrigerators in Calabar Metropolis were examined for microbial pathogens presence to determine their possible role as infection reservoir. Subject: Bacterial and fungal isolates were identified morphologically, physiological, and biochemically while parasites were detected by direct microscopy. Result: In all, 100% of refrigerators sampled showed bacterial contamination, 32% showed fungal contamination, while 8% had parasitic organisms. Genera of bacteria isolated in descending order of frequency were: Staphylococcus aureus 27.3%, Escherichia coli 20.2%, Shigella spp 13.0%, Pseudomonas aeruginosa 11.9%, Aeromonas hydrophilia 8.3%, Salmonella typhi 5.9%, Klebsiella pneumonia 5%, Streptococcus pyogenes 4.7%, and Proteus mirabilis 2.3%. Fungal organisms isolated were Candida albicans 54%, Penicillium spp 43.2% and Aspergilus flavus 2.7% while the parasites detected were Entamoeba histolytica/dispar 50% and Ascaris lumbricoides 50%. Conclusion: The presence of these organisms, including potential foodborne pathogens, in domestic refrigerators portends serious health implications. The need to maintain appropriate food storage and refrigerator management, and proper hand hygiene is recommended.

microbial pathogens refrigerators Calabar metropolis

Creative CommonsThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit


[1]  Greenwood, D., R.C.B. Slack. John F.P., (2014). Sixteenth Edition: Medical Microbiology International Edition 2-4. 662-663.
[2]  Haresh Khemani (2010). Domestic refrigerators parts and their working. Bright Hub engineer.
[3], 2015. Consumers Refrigerator Themometer: Cold facts about food safety. Retrieved 4/7/2016.
[4]  Juli Garden-Robinson (2013). Food Freezing Guide.
[5]  Scott, E., Bloomfield, S. F., & Barlow, C.G. (1982). An investigation of microbial contamination in the home. Journal of Hygiene, 89, 279-293.
[6]  Smith J. Scott and Y. H. Hui (2008). Food Processing: Principles and Applications
[7]  Kaur, G., R.P. & Sidhu. M. (2013).Microbial analysis of commonly stored food items in household refrigerators in selected containers. J humect, vol 42(2): 151-155.
[8]  Adebayo C. O., Aderiye B.I., Akpor O.B. (2014) Assessment of bacterial and fungal spoilage of some Nigeria fermented and unfermented foods. African Journal of Food Technology, 2014 pp.
[9]  Macias-Rodriguez (2013). Improvement of Microbial Safety of Hard cooked Eggs by Pulsed Light. Invited to present at the International Association for Food Protection Annual Meeting. Charlotte, NC, July 2013.
[10] Preventing Cross Contamination During Food Storage. Universty ms. Retrieved 4/7/2016.
[11]  Kyung A. Lee, E.J. Choi and Byeong Sam Kim (2012). Pre-treatment & Storage Conditions on the quality and characteristics of ginger paste.
[12]  Haghi, A.K. (2011). Food science research and Technology, Canada. Apple academic press inc.
[13]  Beharavesh, C.B., Williams, I.T. & Tauxe, R.V. (2012). Emerging food borne pathogens and problems; expanding prevention efforts before slaughter or harvest, in institute of medicine (US). National academies press (US).
[14]  Oluwafemi, F., Akpoguma. S, Oladiran. T & Kolapo, A. (2015). Microbiological quality of household refrigerators in three- cities south- west of Nigeria. J. Microb Biochem Technol 7(4): 206-209.
[15]  Borneff J, Singer HR, Wittig J, Harder ER. (1988). Distribution of microorganisms in household kitchens. 2. Critical-evaluation of the results and conclusions. Zbl Bakt Mik Hyg B; 186:30-44.
[16]  Godwin, S., F.C. Chen, E. Chamber., R & D. Chambers. (2007). A comprehensive evaluation of temperatures within home refrigeration. Food Prot Trends 27: 168-173.
[17]  World Health Organization (2012). Food safety and food borne Illness.
[18]  D' amico, S., Collins, T., Marx, J.C., Feller, G & Gerday, G. (2006). Psychrophillic microorganisms: Challenges for life. EmboReports, 7(4): pp 385- 389.
[19]  Kumar, M. Rohini; Rishu, Apurva, Bhawna; Osborne, Jabez W. (2012). Isolation of Various Bacterial Pathogens from Domestic Refrigerators. Asian Journal of Pharmaceutical and Clinical Research, Vol 5, Suppl 3, 151-153.
[20]  Ojima, M., Toshima, Y., Koya, E., Ara, K., Kawai, S., & Ueda, N. (2002). Bacterial contamination of Japanese households and related concern about sanitation. International Journal of Environmental Health Research, 12(1), 41-52.
[21]  Ananya Mandal (2012). What is Staphylococcus aureus. Retrieved 7/7/2016.
[22]  Adams, M.R. & Moss, M.O. (2008) Food Microbiology, 3rd edn. The Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge. Aghdam, M.S. & Bodbodak, S. (2013).
[23]  Spiers, J. P., Anderton, A., & Anderson, J.G. (1995). A study of the microbial content of the domestic kitchen. International Journal of Environmental Health Research, 5, 109-122.
[24]  Oladipo, I.C., Onyenike, I.C., Adebiyi A.O. (2009). Microbiological Analysis of some Vended Sachet Water in Ogbomso, Nigeria. African Journal of Food Science Vol 3. (12) pp406-412, 2009.
[25]  James, S. J., J. Evans, & C. James. (2008). A review of the performance of domestic refrigerators. J. food Eng. 87: 2-10.