Mycoflora and Aflatoxin Levels in Stale Retailed Pepper Sold in Abeokuta Nigeria
Fungi constitute a major problem in the production, storage and processing of agricultural products, recent concern about the consumption of stale retail pepper in Abeokuta necessitated the need to determine the fungal population and also to quantify Aflatoxin produced by the fungi. Fungi species were isolated from 20 pepper samples (Capsicum annum) bought from different markets in Abeokuta using standard microbiological procedures and High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) was used to quantify the aflatoxin present. Isolated fungi were Aspergillus flavus (55%), Mucor sp (10%), Sacharomyces cerevisiae (20%), Aspergillus fumigatus , Rhizopus sp and Penicillium sp (5%) respectively. Results shows that fourteen of the pepper samples had no detectable aflatoxin and the aflatoxin content in the remaining six samples was 23ng/kg, 18 ng/kg, 15 ng/kg, 9 ng/kg, 6 ng/kg and 2 ng/kg,. five of these samples had aflatoxin content above the European Union maximum tolerance level of 5ng/kg. The presence of toxin producing Aspergillus flavus capable of causing food poisoning raises concern over public health risks that may be associated with the consumption of stale pepper.
Keywords: Aflatoxin, Fungal contamination, Capsicum annum, stale foods, High Performance Liquid chromatography, public health
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