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Asian Journal of Biological Sciences
 
Investigation of Incidence of Aflatoxin on Xylopia aethiopica (Dunal) A. Rich in Seven States of Nigeria
Felicia Wugo Nmom, Chimankpa Worlu and Mercy Gospel Ajuru

Abstract:
Background and Objective: The plant X. aethiopica, which belongs to the family Annonaceae and commonly called Negro pepper/African pepper is widely used as spice, stimulant as well as for medicinal purposes in Nigeria is reported to be highly contaminated by moulds of Aspergillus: A. flavus and A. niger. These fungi are known for their remarkable ability to form aflatoxins which are poisonous carcinogens which after entering the body may be metabolized by the liver, leading to liver cancer. Materials and Methods: An investigation of incidence of fungi on Xylopia aethiopica (Dunal) A. Rich from 7 states of the Nigerian Deltaic zones and the subsequent detection of aflatoxin at 20 ppb on the dry seeds was carried out with TargetTM Field Test Column (TFTC). The study was portended due to the considerable high incidence of Aspergillus flavus on the dried seeds of X. aethiopica from different locations in the Nigerian Deltaic zones. The seeds were surface sterilized with 1% chlorox and plated on blotter papers in Petri dishes and agar medium, respectively. Detection of seed fungal pathogens was carried out using the standard blotter method as described by the International Seed testing Association. Results implicated that 8 fungal species, namely: Aspergillus flavus, A. niger, Penicilluim species, fusariurn moniliforuie, Chioridium viride, Setodochiuni caesariae, Rhizoctonia solani and Mucor mucedo with varying degrees of incidence were associated with the seeds of X. aethiopica, irrespective of source of sample. Aspergillus flavus had a considerable high incidence of occurrence across the Deltaic zones and was found pathogenic and deep-seated in the seeds even after a prolonged 1 h treatment with Chlorox. Results: The results of the aflatoxin test were negative with TargetTM column and as such no further test with TLC was carried out. It indicated that the presence of aflatoxin was possibly less than 20 ppb. Conclusion: In conclusion, results from this research showed that X. aethiopica is contaminated commonly by storage fungi which were prevalent across other parts of the Deltaic zones of Nigeria. Seeds of X. aethiopica should be surface sterilized with chlorox and thoroughly rinsed before use, if seeds are brought from stored stock and may also be boiled for at least 11/2 h before use.
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