Bacterial contamination of packaged smokeless tobacco sold in India
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Department of Public Health Dentistry, Maulana Azad Institute of Dental Sciences, New Delhi, India
Rashmi Mehra   

Department of Public Health Dentistry, Maulana Azad Institute of Dental Sciences, New Delhi, India
Publication date: 2020-02-10
Submission date: 2019-03-27
Final revision date: 2019-09-28
Acceptance date: 2019-12-04
Tob. Prev. Cessation 2020;6(February):11
About 21.4% of India’s population uses smokeless tobacco products (SLT), yet limited data are available on their microbial contamination. To understand the potential microbiological risks associated with SLT use, the present study aims to investigate bacterial contamination of tobacco and the types of microbes that could be cultured from SLT products.

Twenty-two brands of SLT products, including paan masala, khaini, gutka and tobacco-containing dentifrices were examined and cultured by using appropriate selective and differential media including MacConkey agar and CLED agar. This was followed by a sequence of further identification by biochemical tests.

All 22 types of SLT products showed growth of aerobic bacteria. The most common bacteria isolated were Pseudomonas aeruginosa followed by Streptococcus faecalis. Other bacteria that were isolated from products, in traces, included Klebsiella spp., E. coli, and Bacillus subtilus.

This study raises and addresses the issue of bacterial contamination of packaged SLT products. SLT users might be subjected to a significant health hazard, especially those who are immunocompromised.

The authors have completed and submitted the ICMJE Form for Disclosure of Potential Conflicts of Interest and none was reported.
There was no source of funding for this research.
Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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