Wastewater is increasingly being recognized as a key water resource, and reclaimed water (or treated wastewater) is used for irrigating vegetables destined for human consumption. The aim of the present study was to determine the diversity and prevalence of Aeromonas spp. both in reclaimed water used for irrigation and in the three types of vegetables irrigated with that water. Seven of the 11 (63.6%) samples of reclaimed water and all samples of vegetables were positive for the presence of Aeromonas. A total of 216 Aeromonas isolates were genotyped and corresponded to 132 different strains that after identification by sequencing the rpoD gene belonged to 10 different species. The prevalence of the species varied depending on the type of sample. In the secondary treated reclaimed water A. caviae and A. media dominated (91.4%) while A. salmonicida, A. media, A. allosaccharophila and A. popoffii represented 74.0% of the strains in the irrigation water. In vegetables, A. caviae (75.0%) was the most common species, among which a strain isolated from lettuce had the same genotype (ERIC pattern) as a strain recovered from the irrigation water. Furthermore, the same genotype of the species A. sanarellii was recovered from parsley and tomatoes demonstrating that irrigation water was the source of contamination and confirming the risk for public health.
Keywords: Aeromonas; Irrigation water; Ready to eat vegetables; Reclaimed water.
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