Aeromonas hydrophila is a Gram-negative rod. It is motile, non-sporing and facultatively anaerobic.

There is increasing evidence to implicate Aeromonas hydrophila in incidents of gastroenteritis, although to date there are only a few incidents implicating food as the vehicle. The illness can be severe especially in the immunocompromised. The method by which Aeromonas causes illness is due to a number of "virulence factors" which include relatively heat-sensitive enterotoxins, which may or may not need to be pre-formed in food (still to be clarified).

Aeromonas species are widely distributed in nature but the main source is water. Water may, in fact, contribute to the contamination of foods with Aeromonas. The organism is has been isolated from seafoods, meat , poultry, milk, vegetables, salads.

There are only a few reports of food poisoning from Aeromonas, and these have involved mainly oysters and prawns.

Aeromonas has a wide temperature range for growth. Many strains are psychrotrophic - capable of growing at temperatures as low as 2ºC or even lower. The organism is heat-sensitive, being easily destroyed by pasteurisation or equivalent heat processes.

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