Occurrence of Noroviruses and Their Correlation with Microbial Indicators in Raw Milk
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This study was conducted to investigate the microbiological quality of raw cow’s milk in a collection center in the city of Mashhad, Iran. A total of 19 raw cow’s milk samples were collected and simultaneously analyzed for male-specific (F+) coliphage and Escherichia coli using culture-based methods and for enteric viruses by reverse transcriptase semi-nested PCR using primer sets specific for human norovirus Group I (HNV-GI), human norovirus Group II (HNV-GII), and enteroviruses (EV). Seven out of 19 (36.8 %) raw milk samples tested positive for human noroviruses (HNV). The genotypes detected were HNV-GI and HNV-GII. Three positive samples contained both genotypes, and 2 samples were positive for either of HNV-GI and HNV-GII. No sample tested positive for EV. The correlation between the occurrence of HNV and the microbial indicators was studied. The statistical analysis using first- and second-order regression revealed that there is no correlation between F+ coliphage and E. coli. Similarly, no correlation was noticed between the occurrence of F+ coliphages and HNV. However, frequency distribution analysis indicated that 3 out of 4 (75 %) of raw milk samples containing F+ coliphage at a concentration higher than 104 pfu/100 ml were also positive for noroviruses. The limited data on the occurrence of noroviruses in raw milk suggest a poor sanitation and hygiene practices at the facility and indicate a possible correlation between the viral indicator at high concentration and human noroviruses; however, this analysis needs further investigation in a larger scale study.
KeywordsRaw milk Norovirus Enteroviruses Coliphage E. coli
The authors wish to thank the Ministry of Industries and Mines and ozone Ab Corporation for their financial support and Dr. M. R. Bassami for technical assistance.
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