Bacterial diversity and potential risk factors associated with Salmonella contamination of seafood products sold in retail markets in Bangkok, Thailand

Edward R. Atwill, Saharuetai Jeamsripong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Consumption of contaminated food causes 600 million cases, including 420,000 of fatal infections every year. Estimated cost from food-borne illnesses is USD 110 billion per year, which is an economic burden to low- and middle-income countries. Thailand is a leading producer and consumer of seafood, but little is known about bacterial contamination in seafood. In particular, public health agencies need to know the relationship between Salmonella contamination in seafood and risk factors, as assessed with readily available culture-dependent and bacterial phenotyping methods. To address this, levels of indicator bacteria, Salmonella and Vibrio in various seafood products were determined to identify risk factors associated with Salmonella contamination. A total of 335 samples were collected from October 2018 to July 2019 at seafood markets throughout Bangkok, Thailand; overall sample composition was Pacific white shrimp (n = 85), oysters (n = 82), blood cockles (n = 84), and Asian seabass (n = 84). Prevalence was 100% for fecal coliforms and 85% for E. coli. In contrast, prevalence was 59% for V. parahaemolyticus, 49% for V. cholerae, 19% for V. alginolyticus, 18% for V. vulnificus, and 36% for Salmonella. Highest concentrations of fecal coliforms and E. coli were in oysters. Highest concentrations of Salmonella with Matopeni (31%) being the predominant serotype were in shrimp. Salmonella contamination was significantly associated with type of seafood, sampling location, retail conditions, and the presence of E. coli, V. alginolyticus and V. vulnificus. A cutoff value for E. coli concentration of 1.3 × 104 MPN/g predicted contamination of Salmonella, with a sensitivity of 84% and specificity of 61%. Displaying seafood products on ice, presence of E. coli and Vibrio, and seafood derived from Eastern Thailand were associated with an increased risk of Salmonella contamination.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere12694
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • Escherichia coli
  • Risk factors
  • Salmonella enterica
  • Seafood
  • Vibrio

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


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