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Comparative evaluation of microorganisms on naira notes used by meat and vegetable sellers was microbiologically analysis. Seven bacterial species and two fungal were isolated and identified by their cultural morphology, Gram’s reaction, biochemical reaction and sugar utilization test. Fungal isolated were identified by using lacto phenol – in- cotton blue staining technique.  The bacterial isolates include; Staphylococcus aureusBacillus sp, Escherichia coliProteus sp, Streptococcus sp, Klebsiella sp, Pseudomonas sp, Aspergillus sp and Yeast. The comparative of microbial count on both meat and vegetable sellers in Umuahia markets, where meat sellers has the highest microbial count with range of 4.6x103 (cfu/ml) to 6.0x10(cfu/ml)  in mammy and Orie-ugba market. While vegetable sellers range from 4.5x103 (cfu/ml) to 5.2x103 (cfu/ml) on (THPC), also confirmed in (TCPC) that meat sellers in mammy and Amawom markets has the highest coliform count with range of 2.3x103 (cfu/ml) to 4.5x103 (cfu/ml) compared with vegetable sellers with 2.4x102 (cfu/ml) to 3.4x103 (cfu/ml) and (TFPC) for meat sellers in Ubani and Amawom markets range from 1.6x103 (cfu/ml) to 3.1x103 (cfu/ml) and on the vegetable sellers range from 1.5x103 (cfu/ml) Orie-ugba to 2.3x103 (cfu/ml) Ubani market respectively. The occurrence of microorganisms isolated from the notes were (22.86%) Staphylococcus aureus, (22.26%) Bacillus sp (11.43%) Escherichia coil (8.57%), Proteus sp (11.43%)  Streptococcus sp (8.57%)  Klebsiella sp Pseudomonas sp (14.29%) Aspergillus sp (15.33%) and Yeast (12.5% respectively). And antibiotic sensitivity results shows that all the bacteria isolates were sensitive to Ciprofloxacin, Septrin, Rifampincin, Ampiclox and Tarivid while Chloraphenicol, Nalidixic Acid and Reflaine found resistance to the bacterial isolates. This have shows that naira notes in circulation are highly contaminated with different types of bacteria and antibiotic resistant level could be a problem in the treatment of diseases caused by these isolates.


Title Page                                                                                                                    i

Certification                                                                                                                ii

Dedication                                                                                                                  iii

Acknowledgements                                                                                                    iv

Table of Contents                                                                                                       v

List of Tables                                                                                                              vii

Abstract                                                                                                                      viii



3                  Introduction                                                                                                     1

3.5            Background of the Study                                                                               1

1.2       Currency notes                                                                                                2

1.2.1    History of currency notes                                                                               3

1.2.2    Development of currency notes in Nigeria                                                     4

1.2.3    How currencies are contaminated by meat and vegetable sellers                   5

1.3       Aim and Objectives of the Study                                                                   6



2.0       Literature Review                                                                                           8

2.1       Composition, use and contamination of the Nigeria naira                              8

2.1.1    How microorganisms contaminate currencies                                                 9

2.1.2    Microorganisms isolated from naira notes used by meat and vegetable

sellers.                                                                                                             11

2.2       Microbial load on foreign  currencies                                                             12



3.0       Materials and Methods                                                                                   15

3.1       Source of materials                                                                                         15

3.2       Sampling                                                                                                         15

3.3       Media preparation                                                                                           15

3.4       Determination of bacterial load                                                                      16

3.5       Determination of fungal counts                                                                      16

3.6       Determination of occurrences                                                                         17

3.6.1    Characterization of  isolates                                                                            18

3.6.2    Gram staining techniques                                                                                18

3.6.3    Biochemical Reaction of bacterial                                                                  19 Motility test                                                                                                    19   Catalase test                                                                                                  19    Coagulase test                                                                                              19   Methyl red test                                                                                              19    Voges-proskaeur test                                                                                   20   Indole test                                                                                                     20   Citrate test                                                                                                    20    Oxidase test                                                                                                 21

3.6.4    Sugar Utilization test of bacterial                                                                   21

3.6.5    Identification of fungi                                                                                    21

3.7       Antimicrobial susceptibility test                                                                     22

3.8       Statistical analysis                                                                                          22



4.0       Results                                                                                                            23



5.0       Discussion, Conclusion and Recommendations                                             33

5.1       Discussion                                                                                                       33

5.2       Conclusions                                                                                                     35

5.3       Recommendations                                                                                          36








Table                                      Title                                                                            Page


1:         Mean microbial counts on naira notes of both meat and

            vegetable  sellers (cfu/ml)                                                                               25


2:         Biochemical tests for identification of bacterial isolates of naira

            notes from meat and vegetable sellers                                                            26


3:         Identification of fungal isolated from meat and vegetable

sellers in Umuahia markets                                                                             27


4:         Occurrence of bacteria isolates on naira notes of meat sellers in

Umuahia markets                                                                                            28


5:         Occurrence of bacteria isolates on naira notes of vegetable

sellers in Umuahia markets                                                                             29


6:         Occurrence of fungal isolates on naira notes of meat sellers in

Umuahia markets                                                                                            30


7:          Occurrence of fungal isolates on naira notes of vegetable sellers in

 Umuahia markets.                                                                                          31


8:         Antimicrobial susceptibility of bacterial isolated from naira

            notes from both meat and vegetable sellers in Umuahia markets                   32







1.0    Introduction

1.1     Background of the Study

In ancient times, people didn’t need money. They got everything they needed through bartering. In bartering, you trade something you don’t need for something you do need. Thousands of years ago, the first money was commodity money. Commodities are things that everyone values enough to trade for and accept as payment (Millar et al., 2005). Commodity money varied from place to place, depending on what the local people valued. For example, shells, salt and iron nail. But many forms of commodity money where difficult to carry and could lose their value (Igunbor et al., 2007).

In due course, there were replaced by coins (pieces of metal) made of gold, silver, bronze and copper and much later paper money was developed the first time in  China. Money  is the most widely used and  sought after service on the planet. Research has shown that paper currency serves as an ideal breeding ground for microorganisms for several reasons. Firstly, the paper bills offer a large surface area for organism and organic debris to collect (Awodi et al., 2000).  Secondly, folds and/or deliberate depressions or projections specifically engineered into the bills’ design as an anti-counterfeiting methods serve as settling sites for both organism and debris, which allow the microorganisms to live longer (Chambers, 2009).

Lastly, banknotes weave their way through the population for many years before they come to rest. Studies indicate that the age and denomination of a bill have a direct  correlation with the  contamination observed (e.g. older bills and the most contamination while newer bills has the least) (Okon and Oluadipo, 2003).

1.2       Currency notes

According to Ogunlaya (2005), money in the form of coins and notes, pass through many hands, in most day to day, cash transactions.  In Nigeria, the currency in use is the naira. The Central Bank of Nigeria produces and release the naira notes for public use through the commercial banks. Eight denominations of the Naira are in existence in note form of   N5, N10, N20, N50, N100, N200, N500, N1000.

Generally, the lower currency notes of N200  and below are the most commonly used in daily cash transactions in the markets and elsewhere while the higher denominations N500 and N1000 are used by the wealthy and in corporate transactions (Okon et al., 2003). Milestone (2000) observed that when individuals handle currency notes, a portion of their body (bacteria) flora is shed on the notes and in turn, the microorganisms spread among the handlers of the notes. There are many sources through  which microorganisms enter the naira (and other currency) notes. This include dust, water, microflora of handlers (skin, hand) as well through saliva which some  people use when counting monies. Again some market and community women put money notes in their brassier while some handlers and traders put money notes in their socks and pockets and some villagers put money under the carpet or rugs. In normal   usage, some people squeeze the notes making it damp and predisposed for bacteria invasion.

The naira is generally subjected to abuse during handling and this exposes it to microbial invasion. The negative handling of the naira includes spraying during ceremonies in which the notes are trampled upon by dancers and the crowd. In this regards, microbes from the atmosphere, human body, soil etc enter the notes (Ogba, 2007; Awordi et al., 2010). Brady and Kelley (2000) described the damaged soiled, cellotaped Naira notes and those with pen writings on them as mutilated naira notes. Generally, the type of microorganism that contaminate the naira notes depends to a large extent on the environment and the handlers’ level of hygiene. Against this background, this project is designed to evaluate the bacteria contamination of naira notes obtained from fresh meat seller and vegetable seller in and around Umuahia.

1.2.1    History of currency notes

The Chinese were  recorded as the first to introduce and use paper currency notes which were innovated around the early years of modern China. The  paper were made of linear, hemp, bamboo and malbery bark. The had already developed the practice of writing credit notes on paper and dear skins, as guarantees for long distance trade (the author). According to retrieved ancient documents, the first papers bills in China appear during the China’s Tang dynasty around the 7th century AD in the value of the yellow river (Prescott, 2008). This practice developed into paper currency which was found to be lighter weight substitute for thousands of coins needed to be transported between regions for the growing trade. Merchants were made to exchange their coins for at government treasury for paper notes which came to be called  “fei-gian” ie feing money. But the institutionalization of paper money in China was during the song dynasty which began around 960 AD.

In Europe, unlike in Asian China, paper currency did not gain widespread usage until much carton paper money was rich enough into Europe by traveler like Macro Polo and William of Rubrak (Haque, 2003). However, Europe did not have necessary materials for paper currency. The first paper  null in Europe was established by the moors in the gear that is now Spain in around 1150 AD. But reports has it that when it become increasingly risky to carry large sums of metallic coins, merchants adopted the use of hand written promising notes (Ichor, 2007).  By the late 1550s, banking institutions had average that gave receipts in exchange for currency deposits. In 1661, the Government of Sweden  is the European Government sponsored bank note as a legal tender. By 1664, the bank of England became the first Government bank to make permanent issue of paper currency as part of  King Williams effort to finance  war against France. But the currency notes were issued in large quantities of 50 pounds which was much higher than most individual’s annual earnings so most people continued to do business with coins (Kjhge, 2009). In the United States, the congress started using paper notes known as “the continental” and the units was dollars, during the war of  independence  from  Europe in 1775. The issuing authority was the continental congress. The current dollar currency used in the United States originated from the ones issued after independency in 786 (10 years after) but the US mint that  produced the dollar bill was heated in 1792  but it was in 1861 that the United State Government began regular printing of dollar bills for general circulation and redemption upon demand (Kelly, 2009).

1.2.2    Development of currency notes in Nigeria

According to information from the Central Bank of Nigeria, the West African currency Board was responsible for using currency notes from 1912 to 1959. Before then, Nigeria used various forms of money including cowries and manilas in 1st July, 1959, the first indigenous currency notes were issued by the Central Bank and those the West African Currency were withdrawn  (Orukotan and Yabaya, 2011). However, it was not until Nigeria became a republic that the legal tender status became effective in 1st July 1962. The Nigerian currency were disputed in pounds but were change in farms  in 1968 as part of war strategy following what the Government termed as misuse of the country’s currency notes (Asikong et al., 2007).  The Nigerian pound was formerly changed to the Naira in 1973 in which 1 Naira was equivalent to one half pound or 10 shellings in February, 1977, the N20 note was issued as the highest denomination and also as the first currency of bear the portrait of a Nigeria citizen the late  Murtala Mohammed a torch bearer of the 1975 Nigerian resolution. A few years later, in 1979 new denominations of N1, N5 and N10 were introduced but N1 and 50k were coined. While the other bore portraits of some Nigerian past heroes as well as cultural depicts on their over leafs. More currency notes were introduced as a response to expanding economy and to facilitate efficient payment systems. They included N100 note introduced in December 1999, N200 note introduced in November 2000, N500 note introduced in April, 2001 and N1000 note introduced in October, 2005.  In February 28th 2007, bank notes with new designs were introduced as part of economic reformes and these included N50,  N20, N10 and N5 notes as well as N1 and 50k coins while a new N2 coin was introduced. These are the monies that are in current circulation in the country as at date.

1.2.3    How currencies are contaminated by meat and vegetable sellers

The currencies are contaminated by meat sellers and vegetable sellers through counting notes with saliva. Coughing and sneezing on hands followed by exchanging currencies, placement or storage on dirty surfaces, such currencies further act as a vehicle for bacteria to the next user (Barolia et al., 2011; Ngwai et al., 2011). Contaminated currency  could resulted in food borne infection (Girma et al., 2014; Ngwai et al., 2011). Microbial contamination rate of currency handled by meat seller contamination rate of currency handled by meat seller (butchero) (78.0%) and vegetable sellers (62.1%) was reported from Nepal (Lamichane et al., 2009). Many people do not care to the level of cleanliness of their finger when handling money and pick paper currencies with contaminated hands, Leading to contamination of paper currency. Furthermore, meat seller in slaughter houses and at market places usually collect money from buyers with hands contaminated with blood and animal wastes. Such money handling habits can introduce microbes to the notes (Kovacs et al., 2003). In most part of the world, it is believe that the simultaneous handling of food and money (currency) contributes to the incidence of food-related public  health incidents. Data accumulated during the last 20 years indicate that pathogens on currency notes could represent a potential cause of food borne illness. Evidently, many food outlets rely heavily on paper currencies for exchange with high frequency of contact between the currencies and foods risking the safety of customers (Mulera et al., 2001).

1.3    Aim and Objectives of the Study

The objectives of this project work is to compare the bacteria contamination of naira notes used by meat and vegetable sellers. The objectives in the following specifically;

i.                    To determine the bacteria and fungal load of naira notes from meat and vegetable sellers.

ii.                  To isolate, characterize and identify bacteria and fungal load from the test naira notes.

iii.                To compare the bacteria and fungal load and the flora of the naira notes from meat sellers with those from vegetable sellers.

iv.                To assess safety of the naira notes to the user public.

v.                  To compare microbial counts from polymer and non-polymer naira notes


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