Shiga toxin-producing E. coli in squabs and quail meats


  • Jin-Kui Ma School of Food & Pharmaceutical Engineering, Zhaoqing University, Zhaoqing 526061, China
  • Abdullah F. Alsayeqh Department of Veterinary Medicine, College of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine, Qassim University, Buraydah 51452, Saudi Arabia, *Corresponding author, E-mail: a.alsayeqh@qu.edu.sa
  • Waleed Rizk El-Ghareeb Department of Public Health, College of Veterinary Medicine, King Faisal University, P.O. Box: 400, Al-Ahsa, 31982, Saudi Arabia; Food Control Department, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Zagazig University, Zagazig 44519, Egypt, welsaid@kfu.edu.sa
  • Abdelazim Elsayed Elhelaly Department of Food Hygiene and Control, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Suez Canal University, Ismailia 41522, Egypt. Department of Frontier Science for Imaging, School of Medicine, Gifu University, 1-1 Yanagido, Gifu, 501-1194 Japan
  • Marwa Magdy Seliem Department of Zoonoses, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Zagazig University 44519, Egypt
  • Wageh Sobhy Darwish Food Control Department, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Zagazig University, Zagazig 44519, Egypt
  • Karima Mohamed Eissa Abdallah Food Control Department, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Zagazig University, Zagazig 44519, Egypt




food safety, shiga toxin, E. coli, squab, quails, meat


The consumption of exotic meats, such as squab and quail meats, is common in many parts of the world. However, little is known about the safety of these foods. This study aimed to evaluate the microbial characteristics of squab and quail meats, with a particular interest in the prevalence of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC). Meat samples were examined for total bacterial counts, total mold counts, most probable number of coliforms, total E. coli counts, and the prevalence of STEC. The presence of virulence genes (stx1, stx2, and eae) in STEC isolates was also investigated. Results from microbial analyses revealed poor hygienic status of squab and quail meats. E. coli was isolated from 16% and 10% of squab and quail meats, respectively. Six E. coli serotypes were recovered, including O26, O78, O111, O114, O119, and O127, and STEC genes were detected in all these isolates. Squab liver had the highest E. coli prevalence rates, followed by gizzard, heart, spleen, and breast muscles. The prevalence of E. coli in quail meat samples was similar across all tissues. STEC serotypes showed notable multidrug resistance profiles. We then used ascorbic and rosmarinic acids to increase the safety of breast muscle. Treatment of breast muscles with these acids significantly improved their microbial safety. These findings highlight the potential role of squab and quail meats as a vehicle for STEC transmission to humans, and the beneficial effect of treatment with ascorbic and rosmarinic acids on enhancing the safety of exotic meats.

Key words: food safety; shiga toxin; E. coli; squab; quails; meat


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How to Cite

Ma, J.-K., Alsayeqh, A. F., El-Ghareeb, W. R., Elhelaly, A. E., Seliem, M. M., Darwish, W. S., & Eissa Abdallah, K. M. (2023). SQUAB AND QUAIL MEATS: MICROBIAL STATUS AND PREVALENCE OF MULTIDRUG-RESISTANT SHIGA TOXIN-PRODUCING E. coli : Shiga toxin-producing E. coli in squabs and quail meats. SLOVENIAN VETERINARY RESEARCH, 60(25-Suppl), 317–26. https://doi.org/10.26873/SVR-1613-2022



Veterinary Medicine and The One Health Concept