Assessment of microbiological contamination of some indigenous spices sold in selected markets in the Kumasi Metropolis

Thumbnail Image
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
This study was carried out to assess the postharvest handling practices carried out on spices sold in the Kumasi Metropolis. The study was necessitated by the paucity of information on handling practices carried out on spices in Ghana. A survey was conducted in the Kumasi Metropolis covering farmers, wholesalers, retailers, and processors. Postharvest handling practices and microbial contamination of hot pepper and ginger at the Central, Asafo, and Bantama Markets in the Kumasi Metropolis were assessed. Total Viable Count, Mould Count, and Total Coliforms population were determined at various points being; farmer, wholesaler, retailer and processors points. The study revealed that the pepper was the leading spices sold in the Kumasi Metropolis. Farmers did not dry their pepper and ginger prior to selling them. Vehicles used were generally, not clean. Majority (86.2%) of the traders sun-dried their spices but on bare floor while others (10.3%) dried using polythene platform and raised platform (3.5%).Traders stored spices on polythene sheets, wooden pallets and on the bare floor. All (100%) the farmers reused their packaging materials without cleaning, washing or disinfecting them. The greatest postharvest loss of pepper was attributed to breakages (4.2%).Spices sold at the Central market were highest in total mould count (5.45 cfu/g) followed by Bantama market with a total mould count (5.39 cfu/g) while Asafo market recorded the least count (5.22 cfu/g). Spices sold at the Central Market were highest in total viable count (5.48 cfu). Microbiological study showed that the spices in Kumasi markets had unacceptable microbial quality. It is therefore important to ensure proper handling to protect consumer’s health and quality of spices.
A thesis submitted to the School of Research and Graduate Studies, KNUST, Kumasi in partial fulfillment of the requirement of the award of Master of Philosophy (Mphil. Postharvest Technology) Degree,