APS Homepage

Poster: Diseases of Plants: Crop Loss Assessment


Fungal profiles in ginger root and cayenne pepper powders from U.S. retail
V. TOURNAS (1), J. Kohn (2), E. Katsoudas (2) (1) Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition/FDA, U.S.A.; (2) Northeast Regional Lab/Office of Regulatory Affairs/FDA, U.S.A.

A limited survey was conducted to determine the mycological quality (mould and yeast levels and profiles) of ginger and cayenne pepper powders sold in local stores in the Washington, D.C. area. Ginger powder samples were purchased from four companies (A, B, C, and D), while cayenne pepper was obtained from two companies (A and B). Powders packed in capsules as well as in bulk bottles and jars were examined. All ginger samples tested during this study contained live fungi. Mould levels ranged between 2.4 x 103 and 6.2 x 104 colony forming units/g (cfu/g). The most common species were Aspergillus flavus and Aspergillus niger followed by eurotia and Fusarium spp. No yeasts were found in any of the samples tested. Some variation in fungal species and contamination levels were apparent among different companies. Higher levels of fungal infestation were observed in cayenne pepper samples. Seventy one percent of the analyzed samples were carrying live moulds while only one sample tested positive for yeasts. Mould counts ranged between <100 and 6.9 x 105 cfu/g. The most frequent fungal contaminants were A. niger, A. flavus, and eurotia (E. chevalieri and E. rubrum) followed by Aspergillus spp. and members of the Mucorales family. Variation in mould levels existed between the two companies and among lots of the same company.