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Title: Fungal contamination, aflatoxigenic fungi and levels of aflatoxin B1 in spices marketed in the West Bank of Palestine
Authors: Barakat, S. 
Swaileh, Khalid M. 
Keywords: Molds (Fungi) - Control - West Bank - Palestine;Molds (Fungi) - Health aspects - West Bank - Palestine;Aflatoxigenic fungi - Control - West Bank - Palestine;Aflatoxins - Physiological effect - West Bank - Palestine
Issue Date: 2022
Publisher: Food Additives and Contaminants: Part B Surveillance
Abstract: Ninety-seven spices of seven different types were collected from different retailers in the West Bank of Palestine and were analysed for fungal contamination, specifically aflatoxigenic Aspergillus spp. and Aflatoxin B1 (AFB1) levels. Aspergillus was found in 89% samples analysed. Ground red chilli had the highest average number of fungal colonies. In decreasing order, mixed spices (57%), cardamom (53%), red chilli (52%), chicken spices (50%), sumac (47%) and pepper (38%), were contaminated with Aspergillus species. Aspergillus niger and A. flavus were dominating Aspergillus species in 37% and 23% of food samples analysed, respectively. Of the 11 tested isolates, 82% were identified as aflatoxin-producers. AFB1 was detected in 40.2% of the samples analysed with a mean value of 2.09 ± 3.20 μg/kg. Red chilli powder followed by chicken spices and cardamom recorded the highest levels (6.98, 3.55 and 1.48 μg/kg, respectively). Twenty-two of the spices (23%), were above the European Union's maximum limit of 5 μg/kg.
DOI: 10.1080/19393210.2022.2085330
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