Research – MYCOBIOTA ISOLATION AND AFLATOXIN B1 CONTAMINATION IN FRESH AND STORED SESAME SEEDS FROM RAINFED AND IRRIGATED ZONES OF PUNJAB, PAKISTAN

Study was carried out to evaluate the incidence of mycobiota and contamination of AFB 1  in sesame seeds from rainfed and irrigated zones of the Punjab, Pakistan. For this purpose, 100 sesame seed samples were collected directly from the fields of major sesame-producing areas of the rainfed and irrigated zone. Samples were subjected to the Agar Plate Method for the isolation of mycobiota and thin-layer chromatography for AFB 1 contaminations. Then, seed samples were stored for 12 months. After 12 months, the seeds were again analyzed for mycobiota and AFB 1 contaminations for comparison. The result of the present study revealed that all samples were reported positive for fungal growth in fresh and stored conditions. Twenty-one fungal species belonging to ten different fungal genera were isolated. Aspergillus flavus was the leading contaminant found in fresh and stored sesame seeds from rainfed and irrigated zone followed by A. niger, Alternaria alternata and Fusarium oxysporum . Least reported fungi were Aspergillus ochraceus and Cladosporium oxysporum.  AFB 1 analysis revealed that 92% fresh and 99% stored samples were contaminated with AFB 1 . In the rainfed zone, 88% fresh and 100% stored samples were contaminated with AFB 1 with a mean concentration of 15.74ppb and 33.8ppb, respectively. Similarly, in the irrigated zone, 96% fresh and 98% stored samples were contaminated with AFB 1 with a mean concentration of 20.5ppb and 27.56ppb, respectively. 20% fresh and 100% stored samples from rainfed zone and 28% fresh and 60% stored samples from irrigated zone were tainted with AFB 1 levels above 20 ppb, not fit for human consumption as per maximum limit (20ppb) assigned by FDA and FAO. This is the first-ever report of mycobiota and AFB 1 contamination in sesame seeds from rainfed and irrigated zones of the Punjab, Pakistan. This baseline data will be considered as an initial step to tackle this significant problem.

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