Incidence of Pod Integrity on the Fungal Microflora and Ochratoxin-A Production in Cocoa
Ochratoxin-A (OTA) is a mycotoxin that has nephrotoxic, tetragenic, immunotoxic and carcinogenic effects in the human organism. It contaminates several foodstuffs, notably cocoa. The purpose of our study was to compare the incidence of cocoa pod integrity on the fungal microflora and ochratoxin- A production in Cameroon. Irrespective of pod condition, fermented cocoa beans were contaminated by OTA. The maximum mould content was obtained in beans from damaged pod. However, the fungal microflora was more diversified for beans from pod damaged during harvesting than for beans from intact pods, throughout the post-harvest process. The toxigenic strains isolated belonged to the genera Aspergillus. Aspergillus carbonarius isolated from damaged pods, displayed the greatest OTA production which was 110.7 ng.g-1 on cocoa medium and 2772,0 ng.g-1 on official medium. There was a good correlation between OTA presence in the beans and isolated toxigenic strains.
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