Visakhapatnam: Antibiotic-resistant bacteria in seafood

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Tests reveal E Coli found in seafood has 100% resistance to various antibiotics.

Visakhapatnam: Shrimp and fish caught from the Vizag coast contain bacteria which may be harmful to human health, if found in excess. Microbiological tests conducted on flower tail shrimp and one kind of tuna fish confirmed the presence of coliforms like E Coli.

The tests also revealed that the E Coli found in the seafood has 100 per cent resistance to various antibiotics. The resistance indicates that antibiotics will not be effective to kill the bacteria.

Researchers from the Department of Marine Living Resources of Andhra University said that wider and monoculture tests will be conducted on this seafood to find out the level of presence of E Coli and other bacteria.

Seafood export is big industry in Vizag and from Andhra Pradesh alone, around Rs 7,587 crore worth seafood was exported of which majority is marine shrimp, caught in the sea along the Vizag coast.

Seafood from Vizag is exported to countries like the US, Japan, European Union (EU) and the Middle East. Researchers attributed the presence of bacteria in seafood to the contamination of water due to industrial and domestic sewage.

“If the mono culture tests reveal that E Coli is more than 10,000 cells per unit volume (CPU) per gram of the sample then it is considered alarming. Though less than 10,000 CPU is not alarming, one should analyse why bacteria is present in naturally grown seafood. If right corrective steps are not taken the bacteria levels may go up in the coming years which will have the effect on the human health. There is a need to conduct wide range tests on all varieties of seafood available along the coast. The feeding material of shrimp and fish are being contaminated leading to the presence of bacteria in those creatures. Though the bacteria levels are not so alarming in marine fish, it is a wake-up call to take measures,’’ said Prof M.S. Chakravarthy of Andhra University’s Department of Marine Living Resources.

Shrimps, especially, come to the coast to feed and the mangrove areas are loaded with microbes due to human influence. Shrimp typically come to coast to feed and goes offshore to breed.

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