Mycoflora of Maize in Niger State, Nigeria

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Fungi have been associated with contamination and spoilage of food. These organisms are known to thrive in different weather and environmental conditions. Maize kernel obtained from field, store and market from 25 Local Government Areas of Niger State within the month of August to September were analyzed for fungi occurrence using standard methods. Ten different fungus; Aspergillus niger, A. ochraceus, A. flavus, A. fumigatus, A. parasiticus, Mucor spp, Fusarium spp, Penicillium spp, Yeast and Rhizopus spp, were identified and isolated from the maize kernel. From the agro-ecological zones of the state, the most predominant fungi were Aspergillus species (241/345), Rhizopus spp (41/345) and Mucor spp (37/345) while Penicilium spp and yeast were the least identified. Within the zones, Aspergillus species have the highest occurrence; wet (65/95), driest (63/95), wettest (56/95) and dry zone (54/95) zones. The highest occurrence of fungi was found in the market sample (129) followed by store (112) and field (104). High percentage occurrence of 11.6% was recorded in Suleja, Wushishi, and Borgu Local Government Area, followed by 10.6, 10.1, 8.7, 9.7, 9.2, 8.7 and 8.2% in Bosso, Tafa, Madalla, Minna, Paiko, Bida and Sabon wuse respectively. Mold species known to be mycotoxin producers were reported in this work. This poses as a risk factor to food safety.

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