Research – Insights into the Bacterial Diversity and Detection of Opportunistic Pathogens in Mexican Chili Powder


Chili powder is the most frequently consumed spice in Mexican diets. Thus, the dissemination of microorganisms associated with chili powder derived from Capsicum annuum L. is significant during microbial quality analysis, with special attention on detection of potential pathogens. The results presented here describe the initial characterization of bacterial community structure in commercial chili powder samples. Our results demonstrate that, within the domain Bacteria, the most abundant family was Bacillaceae, with a relative abundance of 99% in 71.4% of chili powder samples, while 28.6% of samples showed an average relative abundance of 60% for the Enterobacteriaceae family. Bacterial load for aerobic mesophilic bacteria (AMB) ranged from 104 to 106 cfu/g, while for sporulated mesophilic bacteria (SMB), the count ranged from 102 to 105 cfu/g. Bacillus cereus sensu lato (s.l.) was observed at ca. ˂600 cfu/g, while the count for Enterobacteriaceae ranged from 103 to 106 cfu/g, Escherichia coli and Salmonella were not detected. Fungal and yeast counts ranged from 102 to 105 cfu/g. Further analysis of the opportunistic pathogens isolated, such as B. cereus s.l. and Kosakonia cowanii, using antibiotic-resistance profiles and toxinogenic characteristics, revealed the presence of extended-spectrum β-lactamases (ESBLs) and Metallo-β-lactamases (MBLs) in these organisms. These results extend our knowledge of bacterial diversity and the presence of opportunistic pathogens associated with Mexican chili powder and highlight the potential health risks posed by its use through the spread of antibiotic-resistance and the production of various toxins. Our findings may be useful in developing procedures for microbial control during chili powder production. View Full-Text

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