Fungal Contaminants of Powdered Herbal Drugs Sold in Parts of Enugu State, Southeast, Nigeria
The aim of the present study was to evaluate the fungal contamination of powdered herbal medicinal preparations sourced from some herbal retail outlets in some parts of Nsukka and Enugu metropolis in Enugu State. The assessments of the contamination of the herbal products were carried out using standard procedures: measurement of some phytochemical components, viable fungal plate count, isolation and characterization of predominant fungal colonies etc. The results showed that all of the herbal preparations had the presence of fungal contaminants. The total fungal plate count results showed that the highest average count of 104 cfu/g was found in two of the preparations, while average plate count of 103 cfu/g was found in the remaining samples. Several fungal genera were isolated from the herbal preparations and they included Aspergillus spp., Penicillium spp., Mucor spp., Candida spp., Trichosporium spp., etc. Members of Aspergillus spp. were found predominating, occurring in 58.3% of the herbal samples, followed by Penicillium spp. occurring in 41.6% of the samples. Most traditionally prepared herbal medications in some parts of Enugu State are likely to be contaminated with a wide variety of potentially pathogenic fungi. The quality assurance of these products should be thoroughly monitored and enforced in the production and distribution of herbal preparations.
Key words: Herbal preparations, traditional medicine, fungal contamination