FIRST REPORT OF THE MYCOLOGICAL QUALITY AND PUBLIC HEALTH IMPLICATIONS OF LOCALLY-MADE SNUFFS SOLD IN EBONYI STATE, SOUTHEASTERN NIGERIA.
Orji J.O., Nwobashi P.A., Nnachi A.U.*, Aghanya I.N., Asobie G.C., Nnemelu P.O., Uzor C.V., Braide W.
The microbial quality of tobacco leaves, personal hygiene of handlers as well as various activities that go on around the processing and marketing environments of locally made snuffs sold in Nigeria can impact heavily on the microbial quality of the end products. This study examined the mycological quality of locally-made snuff sold in Ebonyi State, Nigeria. Sixty-four (64) samples of locally-made tobacco products (32 fermented dried tobacco leaves and 32 snuff samples) were purchased from different tobacco shops in two senatorial zones of the state and processed using standard microbiological techniques. The results revealed mean total fungi counts of snuff from Ebonyi Central and Ebonyi South senatorial zones as 8.5x105 and 6.5x105 cfu/g respectively, with mean total aerobic fungi counts of 5.75x105 and 8.94x105 cfu/g for fermented dried tobacco leaves from Ebonyi Central and Ebonyi South respectively. Out of the hundred fungal isolates, Aspergillus fumigatus occurred highest (n=45, 45.0%), followed by Penicillium marneffei (n=34, 34.0%) and Rhizopus azygosporus (n=21, 21.0%). For fungal isolates, Penicillium marneffei had the highest MARI of 0.42 followed by Rhizopus azygosporus (0.3) and Aspergillus fumigatus (0.1). The study showed that the locally-made snuff sold in the zones were highly burdened with potential fungal pathogens and unfit for human consumption.
Keywords: Tobacco, Snuff, Fungi, Contamination, MARI, Ebonyi.
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