Assessment of microbiological quality and nutritional values of a processed edible weevil caterpillar (Rhynchophorus phoenicis) in Port Harcourt, southern Nigeria
AbstractInvestigation into the microbiological quality of processed Rhynchophorus species revealed the presence of bacteria and fungi. Total bacterial and fungal counts were 1.08 × 105 CFU/g and 9.2 × 102 CFU/g respectively. Bacterial isolates identified included, Lactobacillus plantarum, Staphylococcus aureus, Bacillus subtilis, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Proteus vulgaris, while the fungal species included Cladosporum sp, Penicillium verrecosum, Aspergilus flavus and Fusarum poae and one species of yeast. Rhynchophorus sp is rich in protein (71.63%), indicating high nutritional quality. The crude fibre (1.59%) and ash (11.97%) are high and could aid bowel movement and increase mineral contents respectively in the human body. High moisture (12.14%) and protein contents could encourage spoilage by proteophilic and hydrophilic bacteria and fungi. Poor sanitation and inadequate storage and marketing conditions may contribute to contamination and recontamination of the products. Intensive education on pre and post-harvest (handling) activities, including proper disposal of intestinal contents, preservation with spices and the application of atmospheric packaging system could reduce contamination with microbes.
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