Mycoflora of Some Smoked Fish Varieties in Benin City Nigeria
A study of the mycoflora of six locally available and commonly consumed dried fish species namely; Ethmalosa fimbriata (bonga fish), Tilapia sp. (Banda mangala) Gadus morhua (stock fish), Pseudotolithus typhus (croaker), Arius hendeloti (cat fish) and Drepane africana (spade fish) was carried out in three sampling regimes. A total of thirty-six samples were randomly sourced from local markets in Benin City and cultured in two replicates per sample per batch in Saboraud dextrose agar (SDA). Six fungal isolates encountered in the study were Aspergillus niger, A. flavus, Penicillium sp, Fusarium sp. Rhizopus sp. and Trichoderma sp. in their order of decreasing frequency in all the fish samples. The highest mean mycoflora count (17.833 x103cfu) was recorded in Tilapia sp., while the lowest mean value (11.16 x103cfu) was recorded in Drepane africana. Aspergillus species are known to produce aflatoxins which are carcinogenic (causing heptoma – cancer of the liver), acute hepatitis, reduced red blood cell and decreased immune system in man. Fusarium sp. is reported to produce fumonisin toxin and Penicillium penicillic acid. Prolonged intake of smoked fish with these metabolites may constitute potential public health hazard. Adequate cooking could help in reducing mycoflora of smoked fish.