Studies on the fungal flora of Garri, processed cassava (Manihot esculentus crantz) in Nsukka area of southeastern Nigeria
In Nsukka area of southeastern Nigeria, garri is usually displayed in the open market for sale which no doubt exposes the food stuff to dust particles from moving vehicles, wind and other sources. Thus, fungal spores from the air and soil environment could serve as major sources of fungal contamination of this product. Two garri types (white and yellow) were therefore sampled from six popular markets in the area which included Ogige, Nkwo-Ibagwa, Orie-Orba, Orie-Igboeze, Eke- Ozzi and Obollo-Afor markets. These samples were investigated for the presence of various species of fungi. Fungal isolates observed were: Aspergillus foetidus Thom and Raper, Aspergillus niger van Tiegh, Aspergillus sp., Penicillium sp., Rhizopus sp. and Candida sp. The fungal isolates occurred at varying frequencies, with A. foetidus being the most frequently isolated in both white and yellow garri while A. niger had the least occurrence in both white and yellow garri. Comparatively, white garri had higher frequency of occurrence of fungal organisms than yellow garri. Food processors are therefore, advised to always clean and sanitize equipment coming in contact with food to reduce microbial contamination and also to avoid other unhygienic handling of locally marketed foods.
Key words: Garri, Processed Cassava, Fungal Flora, Marihot esculemta