Displaying all 12 publications

  1. Afsah-Hejri, L.
    Aflatoxins are carcinogenic, mutagenic and teratogenic fungal toxins predominantly produced by Aspergillus flavus (A. flavus) and Aspergillus parasiticus (A. parasiticus). Members of the Aspergillus family are wound-invading pathogens that can infect pistachio trees and nuts. The pistachio nut is a favorite tree nut worldwide, and more than half of the world’s pistachio production is from Iran. Pistachio nuts can easily be infected with Aspergillus spp. due to early splitting or due to animal, insect or physical damage. Any established infection of Aspergillus under high relative humidity and temperature results in the production and rapid accumulation of aflatoxins in pistachio nuts. It is impractical to remove aflatoxins from pistachio nuts after they are produced. Some microorganisms (such as saprophytic yeasts) have been reported to have an antagonistic effect against Aspergillus spp. This study aimed to isolate saprophytic yeasts from pistachio fruits and leaves and investigate their biocontrol activities against a toxigenic strain of Aspergillus flavus (A. flavus). Saprophytic yeasts were identified based on their morphological properties and biochemical tests. In total, 24 yeast isolates were obtained from pistachio fruits and leaves, and their antagonistic effect on A. flavus (PTCC 5006) was investigated. Five saprophytic yeast isolates, displaying the highest biocontrol activities against A. flavus (PTCC 5006), were identified as Pseudozyma fusiformata, Cryptococcus albidus, Rhodotorula fragaria, Cryptococcus hungaricus and Rhodotorula hinula. The biocontrol activities of these yeast isolates were evaluated by their inhibitory effects on sporulation, colony expansion, biomass production and prevention of aflatoxin B1 (AFB1) production. Pseudozyma fusiformata was the most effective yeast isolate in terms of spore reduction (84.6%) and inhibition of AFB1 production (89.1%). Cryptococcus albidus produced the maximum reduction in fungal dry weight (77.9%). Based on these results, isolated saprophytic yeasts from pistachio fruits and leaves can be used as effective biocontrol agents against the growth of Aspergillus and aflatoxin production.
  2. Afsah-Hejri, L., Rukayadi, Y., Fouladynezhad, N., Son, R., Nakaguchi, Y., Nishibuchi, M.
    Listeria monocytogenes (L. monocytogenes) is a gram positive food-borne pathogen that is able to form biofilm on food factory surfaces. Formation of biofilm makes the bacteria much more resistance to environmental stresses such as disinfectant. The extracellular polymeric matrix (biofilm structure) which is mostly comprised of sticky extracellular polysaccharides (EPS) and proteins can protect bacteria in a harsh condition. The efficiency of four disinfectants on removing L. monocytogenes biofilm was investigated. Five concentration levels (100, 50, 25, 12.5, and 6.25%) of disinfectants were tested. In the microtitre assay, the optical density at 595 nm CV-OD595 value, was used to measure the amount of remained biofilm after 24 h. Results showed that disinfectants did not have significant effect on removing L. monocytogenes biofilm. Formation of L. monocytogenes biofilm significantly decreased the efficiency of disinfectants. Biofilm produced by strain number 9 showed higher resistance to disinfectant. Low concentrations (
  3. Fouladynezhad, N., Afsah-Hejri, L., Rukayadi, Y., Abdulkarim, S.M., Son, R., Marian, M.N.
    Listeria monocytogenes (L. monocytogenes) is a serious food-borne pathogen for immunocompromised individuals. L. monocytogenes is capable of producing biofilm on the surface of food processing lines and instruments. The biofilm transfers contamination to food products and impose risk to public health. Transfers contamination to food products, and impose risk hazard to public health. The aim of this study was to investigate biofilm producing ability of L. monocytogenes isolates. Microtitre assay was used to measure the amount of biofilm production by ten L. monocytogenes isolates from minced chicken / meat, sausages and burgers. Results showed that all 10 L. monocytogenes isolates were able to form biofilm after 24 h at 20˚C on polystyrene surface (the common surface in food industries). Some strains were capable of forming biofilm more than the others. All strains showed a slight raise in the quantities of attached cells over 48 and 72 h. L. monocytogenes strains isolated from minced chicken, minced meat and burgers were better biofilm-producers comparing to the strains isolated from sausages.
  4. Puspanadan, S., Afsah-Hejri, L., Loo, Y.Y., Nillian, E., Kuan, C.H., Goh, S.G., et al.
    Klebsiella pneumoniae (K. pneumoniae) is one of the most important members of Klebsiella genus in Enterobacteriacae family, which is responsible for pneumonia (the destructive lung inflammation disease). Vegetables are known as source of contamination with K. pneumonia. Raw vegetables are usually consumed in salads and other dishes. The aim of this study was to investigate the occurrence of K. pneumoniae in raw vegetables marketed in Malaysia. Two hundred commonly used salad vegetables (lettuces, parsley, cucumber, tomato and carrot) from hypermarkets and wet markets were investigated for presence of K. pneumoniae using Most Probable Number-Polymerase Chain Reaction (MPN-PCR). K. pneumoniae was found to be significantly more frequent (100%) and (82.5%) in lettuce and cucumbers, respectively. K. pneumoniae contamination was lowest in carrot samples (30%). All samples were contaminated with K. pneumoniae ranging from
  5. Sandra, A., Afsah-Hejri, L., Tunung, R., Tuan Zainazor, T. C., Tang, J. Y. H., Ghazali, F. M., et al.
    Bacillus cereus (B. cereus) isolates are toxigenic and can cause food poisoning. Cooked rice is
    a potentially hazardous food, especially in tropical countries. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of B. cereus and B. thuringiensis in raw and cooked rice marketed in Selangor, Malaysia. In this research combination of Most Probable Number - Polymerase Chain Reaction (MPN-PCR) was used to detect gyrB gene in B. cereus and B. thuringiensis. Five local varieties of raw rice samples were negative for B. thuringiensis but all (100%) were positive for B. cereus. A total of 115 cooked rice samples (nasi lemak, nasi briyani, nasi ayam and nasi putih) were studied for the presence of B. cereus and B. thuringiensis. Nasi ayam was found to have the highest prevalence (100%) of B. cereus compared to nasi putih (76.2%) and nasi lemak (70.4%). Nasi briyani had the lowest prevalence (50%) of B. cereus. The frequencies of B. thuringiensis were found to be 10, 30 and 35.2 % in nasi putih and nasi ayam, nasi briyani and nasi lemak, respectively. The range of B. cereus and B. thuringiensis in the samples was from < 3 to 1100 MPN/g in different samples. Maximum number of B. cereus was observed in nasi lemak, nasi briyani and nasi putih ( > 1100 MPN/g) while nasi ayam showed less contamination (460 MPN/g) with B. cereus which was significantly different (P < 0.05 ) from others. The number of B. thuringiensis in nasi lemak, nasi briyani, nasi putih and nasi ayam were found to be >1100, 93, 9.2 and 3.6 MPN/g, respectively.
  6. Hajeb P, Jinap S, Shakibazadeh Sh, Afsah-Hejri L, Mohebbi GH, Zaidul IS
    PMID: 25090228 DOI: 10.1080/19440049.2014.942707
    This study aims to optimise the operating conditions for the supercritical fluid extraction (SFE) of toxic elements from fish oil. The SFE operating parameters of pressure, temperature, CO2 flow rate and extraction time were optimised using a central composite design (CCD) of response surface methodology (RSM). High coefficients of determination (R²) (0.897-0.988) for the predicted response surface models confirmed a satisfactory adjustment of the polynomial regression models with the operation conditions. The results showed that the linear and quadratic terms of pressure and temperature were the most significant (p < 0.05) variables affecting the overall responses. The optimum conditions for the simultaneous elimination of toxic elements comprised a pressure of 61 MPa, a temperature of 39.8ºC, a CO₂ flow rate of 3.7 ml min⁻¹ and an extraction time of 4 h. These optimised SFE conditions were able to produce fish oil with the contents of lead, cadmium, arsenic and mercury reduced by up to 98.3%, 96.1%, 94.9% and 93.7%, respectively. The fish oil extracted under the optimised SFE operating conditions was of good quality in terms of its fatty acid constituents.
  7. Tuan Zainazor, T. C., Afsah-Hejri, L., Noor Hidayah, M. S., Noor Eliza, M. R., Naziehah, M. D., Tang, J. Y. H., et al.
    Presence of Norovirus in food can cause viral gasteroenteritis. Recently, lots of reports relating to Norovirus in food have been published. Special attention must be paid to the raw foods as they are not subjected to further heat treatment. In this study, pegaga, kesum, tauge and ulam raja (popular salad vegetables in Malaysia) were investigated for Norovirus. A total of 32 samples from each type of salad vegetables were purchased from local market and analyzed using One-step RT-PCR (Reverse Transcriptase-Polymerase Chain Reaction) for both genogroups namely Norovirus Genogroup I and Genogroup II. Results showed that tauge had the highest contamination with Norovirus Genogroup I (15.6%) comparing to pegaga (9.4%), kesum (12.5%)
    and ulam raja (0%). Samples were free from Norovirus Genogroup II. The study showed that raw vegetables are high-risk foods and can be contaminated with Norovirus.
  8. Puspanadan, S., Afsah-Hejri, L., Rukayadi, Y., Loo, Y.Y., Nillian, E., Kuan, C.H., et al.
    This study aims to determine the presence of extended-spectrum (ESBL) in Klebsiella pneumoniae isolated from raw vegetables by genotypic and phenotypic method. Fifty-three K. pneumoniae isolates that were obtained by plating method were confirmed by PCR. Isolates obtained were screened for their resistance to selected antibiotics. Phenotypic tests for ESBL detection is basically to confirm production of ESBL, in this study two types of antibiotics used which were amoxycillin/clavulanic Acid (AMC, 30 µg) and ceftazidime (CAZ, 30 µg), The resistance were 5/53 (9.4%) and 1/53 (1.9%), respectively. However, it was interesting to observe that none of the K. pneumoniae isolates demonstrated the presence of any of the bla genes by using genotypic method except blaTEM gene has been detected in two isolates out of 53 isolates of K. pneumoniae in this research.
  9. Lye, Y.L., Afsah-Hejri, L., Chang, W.S., Loo, Y.Y., Puspanadan, S., Kuan, C.H., et al.
    E. coli O157:H7 is associated with life threatening diseases such as hemorrhagic colitis (HC), hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) and thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP). Raw milk is considered a high risk food as it is highly nutritious and serves as an ideal medium for bacterial growth. The aim of this study was to investigate the prevalence of E. coli O157:H7 in raw cow, goat and buffalo milk samples. MPN-PCR method targeting the major virulence rfbE gene and fliCH7gene of E. coli O157:H7 was used. Total of 177 raw milk samples were collected from local dairy farms in the state of Selangor, Malaysia. The highest prevalence of E. coli O157:H7 was found in raw cow milk (18.75%). E. coli O157:H7 was detected in 7.32% and 3.57% of raw goat and buffalo milk, respectively. The estimated quantity of E. coli O157:H7 in raw cow, goat and buffalo milk ranged from
  10. Chang, W.S., Afsah-Hejri, L., Rukayadi, Y., Khatib, A., Lye, Y.L., Loo, Y.Y., et al.
    The organic foods’ market is becoming one of the rapidly growing sections in agricultural economies in the world. During the last two decades, food-borne outbreaks associated with fresh produce have rapidly increased. E. coli O57:H7, the caustic agent of acute hemorrhagic diarrhea and abdominal cramps, is mainly associated with meat and poultry product outbreaks but frequent outbreaks linked to the consumption of vegetables have been reported. The aim of this study was to investigate prevalence of E. coli O157:H7 in some organic foods. A total of 230 organic food samples including four-winged bean, tomato, white radish, red cabbage, chinese cabbage, lettuce, cucumber and chicken form retailed groceries and supermarkets in Malaysia were investigated. Low prevalence of E. coli O157:H7 was detected in organic vegetables and chickens. The estimated quantity of E. coli O157:H7 in all samples ranged from 2400 MPN/g. The overall MPN/g estimate of E. coli O157:H7 in the samples from organic groceries was higher than supermarket with the maximum of >2400 MPN/g. Most of the samples from supermarket showed a minimum of
  11. Hajeb P, Selamat J, Afsah-Hejri L, Mahyudin NA, Shakibazadeh S, Sarker MZ
    J. Food Prot., 2015 Jan;78(1):172-9.
    PMID: 25581193 DOI: 10.4315/0362-028X.JFP-14-248
    High-quality fish oil for human consumption requires low levels of toxic elements. The aim of this study was to compare different oil extraction methods to identify the most efficient method for extracting fish oil of high quality with the least contamination. The methods used in this study were Soxhlet extraction, enzymatic extraction, wet reduction, and supercritical fluid extraction. The results showed that toxic elements in fish oil could be reduced using supercritical CO2 at a modest temperature (60°C) and pressure (35 MPa) with little reduction in the oil yield. There were significant reductions in mercury (85 to 100%), cadmium (97 to 100%), and lead (100%) content of the fish oil extracted using the supercritical fluid extraction method. The fish oil extracted using conventional methods contained toxic elements at levels much higher than the accepted limits of 0.1 μg/g.
  12. Goh SG, Kuan CH, Loo YY, Chang WS, Lye YL, Soopna P, et al.
    Poult. Sci., 2012 Oct;91(10):2686-90.
    PMID: 22991558
    This study aimed to determine the prevalence Listeria monocytogenes in raw chicken meat samples at hypermarkets and wet markets. Chicken drumsticks, breasts, and thighs were randomly selected. The most probable number (MPN) PCR method was used to quantify the L. monocytogenes in the samples. Listeria monocytogenes was detected in 20% of the samples. Occurrence of L. monocytogenes was highest in breast (42.03%) followed by drumstick (11.27%) and thigh (7.14%). Samples from hypermarkets showed higher occurrence (25.71%) of L. monocytogenes compared with wet markets (14.29%). The density of L. monocytogenes found in samples ranged from <3.0 to 16 MPN•g(-1). The presence of L. monocytogenes in raw chicken meat is unwanted but unpreventable. Thus, further research on the processing method to reduce and eliminate this kind of bacteria in chicken meat before consumption is necessary. The presence of L. monocytogenes in chicken samples suggests the importance of this pathogen in chicken. Thus, more study is needed to find ways to eliminate this pathogen from poultry.
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