Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

Bacterial communities on food court tables and cleaning equipment in a shopping mall

  • S. DINGSDAG (a1) and N. V. COLEMAN (a1)

The food court at a shopping mall is a potential transfer point for pathogenic microbes, but to date, this environment has not been the subject of detailed molecular microbiological study. We used a combination of culture-based and culture-independent approaches to investigate the types and numbers of bacteria present on food court tables, and on a food court cleaning cloth. Bacteria were found at 102–105 c.f.u./m2 on food court tables and 1010 c.f.u./m2 on the cleaning cloth. Tag-pyrosequencing of amplified 16S rRNA genes revealed that the dominant bacterial types on the cleaning cloth were genera known to include pathogenic species (Stenotrophomonas, Aeromonas), and that these genera were also evident at lower levels on table surfaces, suggesting possible cross-contamination. The evidence suggests a public health threat is posed by bacteria in the food court, and that this may be due to cross-contamination between cleaning equipment and table surfaces.

Corresponding author
*Author for correspondence: Dr N. V. Coleman, School of Molecular Bioscience, Building G08, University of Sydney, 2006, Australia. (Email:
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

1. P Rusin , S Maxwell , C Gerba . Comparative surface-to-hand and fingertip-to-mouth transfer efficiency of gram-positive bacteria, gram-negative bacteria, and phage. Journal of Applied Microbiology 2002; 93: 585592.

4. KA Reynolds , Occurrence of bacteria and biochemical markers on public surfaces. International Journal of Environmental Health Research 2005; 15: 225234.

5. CM Cosby , Microbiological analysis of food contact surfaces in child care centers. Applied and Environmenal Microbiology 2008; 74: 69186922.

6. JA Otter , GL French . Bacterial contamination on touch surfaces in the public transport system and in public areas of a hospital in London. Letters in Applied Microbiology 2009; 49: 803805.

7. E Mizumachi , Clonal distribution of enterotoxigenic Staphylococcus aureus on handles of handheld shopping baskets in supermarkets. Journal of Applied Microbiology 2011; 110: 562567.

8. II Kassem , V Sigler , MA Esseili . Public computer surfaces are reservoirs for methicillin-resistant staphylococci. ISME Journal 2007; 1: 265–258.

9. GE Flores , Microbial biogeography of public restroom surfaces. PLoS One 2011; 6: e28132.

10. C Yeates , MR Gillings . Rapid purification of DNA from soil for molecular biodiversity analysis. Letters in Applied Microbiology 1998; 27: 4953.

11. JR Cole , The ribosomal database project: improved alignments and new tools for rRNA analysis. Nucleic Acids Research 2009; 37: D141D145.

12. SE Dowd , Evaluation of the bacterial diversity in the feces of cattle using 16S rDNA bacterial tag-encoded FLX amplicon pyrosequencing (bTEFAP). BMC Microbiology 2008; 8: 125133.

13. MT Bailey , Stressor exposure disrupts commensal microbial populations in the intestines and leads to increased colonization by Citrobacter rodentium. Infection and Immunity 2010; 78: 15091519.

16. P Villari , A comparison of different culture media for the membrane filter quantification of Aeromonas in water. Letters in Applied Microbiology 1999; 29: 253257.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Epidemiology & Infection
  • ISSN: 0950-2688
  • EISSN: 1469-4409
  • URL: /core/journals/epidemiology-and-infection
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Type Description Title
Supplementary Materials

Dingsdag Supplementary Material

 Word (345 KB)
345 KB


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 2
Total number of PDF views: 6 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 192 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 21st September 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.