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Fungal Contamination of Fermented Prosopis africana (Okpehe) and Toxicity screening of the Crude Extracts in Albino Rats (Rattus novergicus)

“Okpehe”, fermented African mesquite bean (Prosopis africana) is a popular seasoning among the Igala speaking of Kogi State, Nigeria. Ten samples of okpehe from different sources in and around Anyigba, Dekina Local Government of Kogi State, Nigeria were analysed for fungal contamination. The analysis was carried out in triplicates. Nine of the ten samples were found to produce at least one fungi isolate on culture in potatoes dextrose agar medium, with a total of forty-four isolates and seven different types of fungal species. Nine (20.5%) of the isolates elaborated secondary metabolites on rice medium. Thirty healthy albino rats (170 ± 32 g) were randomised into ten groups of three animals each. Nine groups were treated p.o. with a fixed dose of 5000mg/kg (body weight) of the crude extracts of the secondary metabolites produced. The tenth group served as control and the animal received equal aliquot of the vehicle (normal saline). After fourteen days of observation, neither pharmacotoxic signs nor mortality was was observed in the test animals. This shows that although the okpehe consumed in Anyigba and its environs contains residual fungi contamination from the fermentation process, may not pose any risk due to mycotoxicoses in consumers.

Author(s): Dickson Achimugu MUSA, James OMALE and Alilu Moses DAIKWO

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