MYCOBIOTA OF COCOA (Theobroma cacao) BEANS FROM DRYING SITES IN THE SOUTH-WEST OF NIGERIA.

Author(s): Jeff-Agboola Y.A., Jeff-Agboola E.O., Oyedokun J., Plötz M., Okunlola O.A. and Elekofehinti O.O.
Volume/Issue: Volume 3 , Issue 1 (2023)

ABSTRACT:

 The research aimed at identifying the types of mycobiota in cocoa beans collected from drying sites from in six States in the South West, Nigeria. Microbiological analysis was conducted on seventy-five cocoa bean samples at the drying stage using a direct plating technique. The moisture contents of all the samples ranged from 7.08 to 8.55%. A total number of 19 moulds were isolated from the samples. The percentage incidence of mould isolated revealed the predominance of Aspergillus genera followed by Fusarium genera. Aspergillus niger occurred in 60%, 50% and 42.9% in the dried cocoa samples while Fusarium exquisite occurred at an incidence of 50% in the samples. The occurrence of Aspergillus fumigatus in all the samples was 44.4%, while Fusarium verticillioides, Aspergillus parasiticus, Aspergillus tamarii occurred at the frequency of 42.9% compared to other genera. Aspergillus niger isolate had the highest percentage of occurrence (17.7%), followed by Aspergillus flavus (10.2%) and Fusarium verticilloides (8.5%). While the mould with the least percentage of occurrence (0.3%) was Fusarium oxysporium. The Hierarchical Cluster Analysis showed that high fungi loading was from Ekiti and Ondo States. The information from the research showed that mould was dominant in the sites where the cocoa samples were collected. This calls for good agricultural practices in the collection sites to prevent mycotoxin contamination of cocoa beans for ensuring food safety.

KEYWORDS:

Cocoa beans, Drying sites, Crop Safety, Mycobiota.