Fungal Count in Maize Flour Sold in Nakuru Market Essay

3365 WordsSep 24, 201214 Pages
A SHORT COMMUNICATION Determination of fungal levels in maize flour sold in Nakuru County-Kenya Abstract In this study five samples of maize grains, unpacked flour and packed flour each were collected from Nakuru shopping center. Fungal levels in the flour were determined to establish whether the values were within the recommended FOA limits fore human use and also to investigate the presence of toxigenic fungi. The procedure was carried out by inoculating on potato dextrose agar (PDA). Once growth occurred, the number of fungi growing were counted and identified to the genus level. The moisture content in the grains and the flour was determined as percentage weight loss by drying the samples in the oven at 105oC for 24 hours. The results indicated that in both packed and unpacked flour levels were beyond the recommended FAO limits. It was also observed that fungal counts in packed flour were higher that those in unpacked flour. However the difference was not significant according to the results of the T-test. Moisture content levels in maize grains, unpacked and packed flour were below the levels that support fungal growth. The flour was highly contaminated by moulds especially those of the genus Penicillium, Fusarium and Aspergillus.Further work should be done to identify the fungus species to the species level and also to determine whether the flour is contaminated by any mycotoxins. Key words: Mycotoxins, toxigenic fungi. Introduction Maize (Zea mays) belongs to the family Poaceae (old name graminae). It is an annual grass and one of the most important cereal crops in Kenya. It is the staple food for most of the people in Kenya. Approximately 2,900,000 acres of maize are grown annually largely on small-scale farming. Besides food for humans maize is also used as feed for farm animals. 3.8 tones of maize were consumed in

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