Evaluation of filamentous fungi in selected processed indigenous flours sold in the Kumasi Metropolis

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AUGUST, 2015 .
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This study evaluated the filamentous fungi present in selected locally processed indigenous flour sold in the Kumasi Metropolis of Ghana using standard microbiological methods. Results from this study showed that indigenous processed flour was contaminated with different kinds of microorganisms exceeding the tolerable level. Dry cassava (kokonte) flour recorded mould count ranging from 1.70 ×10 3 ± 0.15 cfu/g to 4.03 ×10 5 ± 0.35 cfu/g while maize flour obtained mould count ranging from no counts to 1.18 ×10 6 ± 0.18 cfu/g. Total plate count showed contamination levels between no counts to 9.1 ×10 6 ± 0.25 cfu/g for the maize flour samples, while for the dry cassava (kokonte) flour counts ranged from 7.8 ×10 3 ± 0.30 cfu/g to 4.64 ×10 6 ± 3.18 cfu/g. Moisture analysis revealed percentage moisture content of 12.4%± 0.15 to 19.7% ± 0.12 for the maize flour samples and 10.9% ± 0.27 to 16.9% ± 0.56 for dry cassava (kokonte) flour. Coliforms test indicated negative for seven of eight (7/8) maize flour samples and six out of eight (6/8) for dry cassava (kokonte) flour samples bought from the various markets. From the study, thirteen filamentous fungi belonging to five genera were isolated from the various flour samples. Ten different species were isolated from the dry cassava (kokonte) flour while all thirteen were isolated from the maize flour. The isolated moulds species included; Mucor racemosis, Cladosporium cladosporioides, Aspergillus flavus, Aspergillus fumigatus, Aspergillus wentii, Aspergillus ochraceus, Aspergillus versicolor, Cladosporium herbarum, Penicillium crustosum, Penicillium camemberti, Rhizopus stolonifer, Penicillium viridicatum and Mucor hiemalis. The most prevalent species in the dry cassava (kokonte) flour was Aspergillus flavus occurring in about 77.8% of the samples while for the maize flour samples Penicillium crustosum was the most dominant species occurring in 44.4% of the samples. Information from questionnaires revealed that the source of the contamination may be due to the raw materials used in the flour production and also poor hygienic practices along the production chain
A thesis submitted to the Department of Food Science and Technology, College of Science, in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Master of Science degree in Food Science and Technology.