Biochemistry Project Topics

Determination of Parasitic Faunas of Selected Dump Sites in Obio/Akpor LGA

Determination of Parasitic Faunas of Selected Dump Sites in Obio/Akpor LGA

Determination of Parasitic Faunas of Selected Dump Sites in Obio/Akpor LGA

Chapter One

Aim of the Study 

The study was aimed at determination of parasitic faunas of selected dump sites in Obio Akpor LGA. 

 Objectives of the Study

The objectives of this study were to:

  1. Determine the temperature and pH conditions in the refuse dump sites
  2. Determine the total viable aerobic bacterial counts in soil samples from the refuse dump sites
  3. Isolate and characterize Escherichia coliO157:H7, Salmonella species  and Vibrio cholerae from different waste dump sites in Obio Akpor LGA using biochemical procedures.
  4. Determine the antibiogram of the isolates to commonly used antibiotics.
  5. Detect virulence and antibiotic resistance genes in the isolates using the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) technique.
  6. Confirm the identity of the isolates using 16S rRNA and subsequently determine their evolutionary relationship using phylogenetics.




Waste is any substance, solution mixture or article for which no direct use is envisaged but which is transported for reprocessing, dumping, elimination by incineration or other methods of disposal (Oviasogie et al., 2010). Wastes may be generated during the extraction of raw materials, the processing of raw materials into intermediate and final products, the consumption of final products, and other human activities (Olufunmilayo and Kelechi, 2016). In Nigeria, the sources of solid waste are commercial, industrial, household, agricultural and educational establishments (Babayemi and Dauda, 2009). Waste could be in the form of rubber, plastic, metal, paste, oil, organic matter and other similar commodities. It is solid, liquid or gaseous, renewable or non-renewable, degradable or non-degradable (Thermal Energy for Renewables, 2006). Gaseous waste is normally vented to the atmosphere, either with or without treatment depending on composition and the specific regulations of the country involved. Liquid wastes are commonly discharged into sewers or rivers, which in many countries is subject to legislation governing treatment before discharge. In many parts of the world such legislation either does not exist or is not sufficiently implemented, and liquid wastes are discharged into water bodies or allowed to infiltrate into the ground.

Solid wastes, the subject of this chapter, include all non liquid wastes generated by human activity and a range of solid waste material resulting from the disaster, such as: general domestic garbage such as food waste, ash and packaging materials; human faeces disposed of in garbage; emergency waste such as plastic water bottles and packaging from other emergency supplies and fallen trees and rocks obstructing transport and communications (Gouveia and Ruscitto, 2010).  Solid wastes also include textiles, glass, metals, wood, street sweepings, landscape and tree trimmings as well as general wastes from parks, beaches, and other recreational areas (Alonso and Themelis, 2011). Solid wastes are mainly disposed of to waste dump or landfill, because landfill is the simplest, cheapest and most cost-effective method of disposing of waste (Evironmental Research Foundation (ERF), 2011). In whatever form, waste is nuisance when left unchecked and poses serious challenges to both human health and environment.

Waste Dumps or Landfills

Waste dumps as defined earlier, are areas or land where material waste from several sources and processes are deposited (Odeyemi, 2012). They are generally safely constructed to minimise any form of negative externality, (e.g. pollution of ground water via leaching) to the surrounding areas. According to ERF (2011); ―A secure landfill is a carefully engineered depression in the ground (or built on top of the ground, resembling a football stadium) into which wastes are put. The aim is to avoid any hydraulic (waterrelated) connection between the wastes and the surrounding environment, particularly groundwater‘‘. Basically, a landfill is a bathtub in the ground; a double-lined landfill is one bathtub inside another.Three types of landfills are normally used for solid waste disposal and they are: secured or sanitary landfills, controlled landfills and open dumps. As defined above, secured or sanitary landfills are highly lined at the base to prevent infiltration by percolating liquids, controlled landfills are waste dumps where the refuse are merely covered with soil, and in open dumps there is no standard for refuse dumping (Gouveia and Ruscitto, 2010).

Rapid urbanization, high population density and quest for improvement in standard of living are factors responsible for the generation of large quantities of wastes in most Nigerian Cities. These wastes (Municipal Solid Wastes) as observed by Ojo (2008) are generated mostly in Urban Centres.

In most low- to medium-income developing nations, almost 100 per cent of generated waste goes to landfill. Even in many developed countries, most solid waste is landfilled. For instance, within the European Union, although policies of reduction, reuse, and diversion from landfill are strongly promoted, more than half of the member states still send in excess of 75 per cent of their waste to landfill (e.g. Ireland 92 per cent), and in

1999 landfill was still by far the main waste disposal option for Western Europe (ERF, 2011). Landfill is therefore likely to remain a relevant source of groundwater contamination for the foreseeable future (Nwaokwe, 2004).




Study Area

Obio-Akpor is a local government area in the metropolis of Port Harcourt, one of the major centres of economic activities in Nigeria, and one of the major cities of the Niger Delta, located in Rivers State. The local government area covers 260 km2 and at the 2006 Census held a population of 464,789. Its postal code or ZIP code is 500102. Obio-Akpor has its headquarters at Rumuodomaya. The original indigenous occupants of the area are the Ikwerre people, a subgroup of the Igbo people. Historically Obio akpor people are descendants of aro migrators who moved inland. 

 Study Design  

This study was a cross sectional study. Each section in each settlement was captured to cover the metropolitan and a comparative analysis was done and prevalence recorded. 

 Sample Size

The sample size for this study was determined using the prevalence of 17.2% as reported by ((Wachukwu et al., 2010). 

Study Locations

The soil samples were collected from four refuse dumpsites in each location in Obio Akpor LGA, as well as from an area free of waste (Control Site). The sampling site located in Choba is referred to as, location CH, the second waste dump site is located in Awalama (Settlement AW), location AT is in Atali, while the fourth waste dump site is located in Alakahia (location AL), the last sampling site is situated in Egbelu area and was used  as the Control Site (CS).



Temperature and pH of waste dumps

Temperature and pH readings of the soil samples from the waste dumps from various locations were taken and their range calculated. The temperature of the soil samples from all the sampling sites ranged between 25oC and 37oC for the dry season and between 22oC and 36oC for the wet season while the pH for all the sample sites ranged from pH 6.21 to 9.45 in the dry season and between 6.02 and 9.34 in the wet season (Table 4.1).

The mean values of the temperature and pH of the soil sample from the waste dumps from various locations were compared (Table 4.2). There were slight variations between the waste dump temperatures at the various sampling locations in the four dump locations with that of Choba being highest and the one for Alakahia lowest as displayed in Table 4.2. Of the five sampled locations, Choba had the highest sample temperatures with mean temperature of 34.13oC, followed by Atali, Awalama and Alakahia with mean temperatures of 31.82oC, 30.53oC and 29.51 oC respectively.The lowest sample temperatures were observed in the Control Site with mean temperature of 27.23°C (Table



Temperature and pH of the Waste Dump Soil Samples

In the assessment of the environment from which the samples were sourced, slight disparity between the dump temperatures at various sampling locations was observed. This discrepancy may in part have been a result of diurnal variations as the sampling was done at different times of the day, the dumps being distanced apart from each other. Previous researches have indicated the existence of different microenvironments within the waste dump piles that have varied physical compositions (Atchley and Clark, 1979; McKinley and Robie, 1984; Foster, 1988; Elaigwu et al., 2007). These dissimilar environments result from the non-homogeneity of the wastes and different microbial activities taking place in these micro-niches. Besides the physical nature of the wastes, other factors like different moisture contents at the various sampling spots would also influence the microbial activities at the sampling spots.The presence of these microenvironments in the dump sites was probably responsible for the temperature variations at the various sampling locations.

Since the sampling was done at a depth of about 0 to 15 cm below the surface, the layers of waste materials shielded the inner portions from the direct atmospheric temperatures. This, coupled also with the insulating nature of the waste materials explains the independence of the waste temperatures from the ambient. The temperature of the soil samples from all the sampling sites ranged between 27oC and 36oC for the dry season and between 23oC and 36oC for the wet season. These values fall within the mesophilic range of temperatures for most pathogenic bacteria whose optimum temperature for growth is 37oC with upper and lower temperature limits of 40-50oC and 15-20oC respectively (Arora, 2004).




The occurrence of bacteria of public health significance in waste dumps has received much attention in recent years. To this end, the findings of this study have demonstrated that the temperature and pH existing at the waste dump sites are optimum for growth and proliferation of the bacterial isolates.

From the study conducted, the highest bacterial count was found in Choba while the lowest was found in Alakahia. A statistical significant difference with P-value < 0.05 was found between locations CH and AL as well as between locations CH and CS.

A prevalence of 6.92%, 4.23% and 1.35% was obtained for Salmonella enterica, E.coli O157:H7 and Vibrio cholerae non-O1 respectively.

The Highest occurrence of bacterial isolates was observed in the dry season 37(14.2%) while the low occurrence was observed in the wet season 29(11.2%) and there was a statistical significant difference in the occurrence of the bacterial isolates between the two seasons.

Salmonella enterica showed highest sensitivity to Gentamicin followed by Nitrofurantoin, Chloramphenicol and Ciprofloxacin. E. coli O157:H7 isolates were observed to be highly susceptible to Chloramphenicol, followed by Gentamicin, Cefotaxim and Ciprofloxacin. However, high resistance to Ampicillin, Amoxycillin-clavulanic acid and Tetracycline was observed among these organisms. For the Vibrio cholerae non-O1 isolates, high resistance to Ampicillin, Cotrimoxazole and Tetracycline was observed, however high susceptibility was observed to Ciprofloxacin followed by Gentamicin.

The most effective drugs in the study were Gentamicin on Salmonella enterica and Chloramphenicol on E. coli O157:H7 as no single resistance was observed against them, while there was no 100% effective drug on Vibrio cholerae non-O1 isolates.

A total of 65.2% of the isolates were multidrug resistant. In addition, it was observed that 28%, 26% and 11% of E. coli O157:H7, Salmonella enterica and Vibrio cholerae non-O1 isolates respectively were multidrug resistant. The bacterial isolates were resistant to 1-7 antibiotics and seventeen different phenotypic resistance profiles were observed among them. Most of the resistant isolates showed the AmpAmcCtxSxtTe -resistance pattern.

The virulence genes InvA and Stn of Salmonella enterica were found in 6(100%) and 5(83.33%) respectively of the isolates, Stx and hlyA genes in 5(71.43%) and 4(57.14%) respectively of E. coli O157:H7 isolates and toxR gene in 6(100%) of Vibrio cholerae non-O1 isolates. Similarly antibiotic resistant genes tetA, tetB and blaTEM1 were demonstrated in 2(33.33%), 1(16.66%) and 2(33.33%) respectively of Salmonella enterica, tetA and blaTEM1 in 4(66.66%) and 1(16.66%) of E. coli O157:H7.

Sequencing analysis was used to successfully identify Salmonella Typhi, Salmonella Typhimurium, E. coli O157:H7 and E. coli O83:H1, hence it is a useful tool for confirmation of the identity of bacteria pathogens.

The occurrence of pathogenic bacteria isolated and identified in soil from Obio Akpor LGA waste dumps, suggest that there is a significant sanitary risk, especially to the refuse handlers, rag pickers and people leaving within the vicinity of such dumps. The results further suggest a misuse of antibiotics, a fact that necessitate the control of antibiotics use in Obio Akpor LGA in both humans and animals.


  1. Since the dump sites are a home to many harmful microorganisms, proper policy should be put in place for waste handlers and those who live in the vicinity of the dumps to safeguard their lives.
  2. Further studies should be extended to cover other Local Government areas so as to identify some other serovars not identified in this study and examine the health implications of such dumps to the surrounding residents.
  3. Extensive study on the antibiotic susceptibility pattern and drug resistance mechanisms of Salmonella enterica, coliO157:H7 and Vibrio cholerae should be conducted.
  4. Public health organizations and other relevant bodies should embark on public awareness and enlightenment campaigns to enlighten individuals on the hazards of indiscriminate waste disposal and the open dump system of waste disposal. The public should be enlightened on the following aspects for environment and health surveillance:

(i). Faecal matter should not be allowed to mix with municipal refuse

(ii). Hospital and municipal wastes should be handled separately

(iii). Discharging of waste into drains and open areas should not be practised. (iv). Efforts should be made to remove solid waste from habitations regularly

  1. Public health officials and town planners should implement the critical (minimum) distance within which refuse dumps should not be sited (away from inhabitants of communities).
  2. Government should provide the city with public conveniences in order to discourage open defaecation at waste dump sites.
  3. Further studies on the molecular mechanisms of acquiring resistance, pathogenicity and virulence should be conducted for Salmonella enterica, coliO157:H7 and Vibrio cholerae.
  4. Public health may be ensured from these pathogenic agents at waste dumpsites by prompt removal of waste and proper management (mechanical sorting and excavating) methods. A number of infections can directly link to waste dump pathogens thereby leading to death. It is important that regulatory framework is developed and most importantly to curb this menace if health for all by the year 2020 and vision 20-20-20 is to be attained.


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