High incidence of Aspergillus flavus and aflatoxins in stored groundnut in Ghana and the use of a microbial assay to assess the inhibitory effects of plant extracts on aflatoxin synthesis
RT Awuah; KA Kpodo
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Abstract: Groundnut samples from 21 selected markets in the 10 regions of Ghana yielded high levels of the aflatoxigenic fungus Aspergillus flavus on half-strength potato dextrose agar. The fungus was associated with 31.7 and 12.8%, respectively, of all damaged and undamaged kernels assayed. Only 0.24% of total kernels assayed yielded A. parasiticus. Other fungi detected from total kernels assayed were A. niger (34%), A. candidus (1.45%), A. tamarii (3.93%), A. ochraceous (5.26%), Fusarium spp. (1.7%) Penicillium spp. (5.19%), a Mucor sp. (2.3%), a Trichoderma sp. (0.2%), Rhizopus stolonifer (12%) and certain unidentifiable fungi (11.72%). Total aflatoxin levels ranging from 5.7 to 22, 168 ppb were identified with damaged kernel samples. The mycotoxin was not detected in 50% of undamaged kernel samples tested and very low levels mostly ranging from 0.1 to 12.2 ppb were associated with the undamaged samples that tested positive for aflatoxins. In a novel in vitro microbial assay to determine the effectiveness of certain plant extracts against aflatoxin synthesis, extracts from Xylopia aethiopica, Monodera myristica, Cinnamomum verum and Piper nigrum permitted fungal growth in 1.5% potato-dextrose broth while completely suppressing NOR formation. These extracts, however, could not suppress NOR formation in a yeast extract sucrose medium.