Fungal Infection and Aflatoxin Contamination in Stored Nutmeg (Myristica fragrans) Kernels at Various Stages of Delivery Chain in North Sulawesi Province
Nutmeg (Myristica fragrans Houtt.) or fragrant nutmeg is an important commodity that has been used in food industry and medicine, hence its quality should be monitored. The objectives of the research were to obtain informations on the postharvest handling of nutmeg conducted by farmers, collectors and exporters in North Sulawesi province and to investigate the occurrence of fungi (included A. flavus) and aflatoxin contamination in stored nutmeg collected from farmers, collectors and exporters in North Sulawesi province. Moisture content and percentage of damaged kernels were also investigated, because they affect fungal infection. Surveys and obtaining samples of nutmeg in different points of the delivery chain were done in April and May 2013, in three regencies (North Minahasa, Siau Tagulandang Biaro (Sitaro) and Sangihe Talaud) and two cities (Bitung and Manado). Interviews were conducted during the surveys to collect informations on the postharvest handling of nutmeg in different points of the delivery chain. The total number of nutmeg samples collected from different point of the delivery chain was 76. It consisted of samples collected from farmers (25 samples), collectors (22), and exporters (29). The results showed that in general, the moisture content of nutmeg collected from North Sulawesi province was not higher than the maximum limit of moisture content determineted by SNI (10%). In general, nutmeg collected from farmers and collectors had high percentage of damaged kernels. Aspergillus niger and Endomyces fibuliger were the dominant fungi infecting nutmeg collected from farmers and collectors, while Eurotium repens was the dominant fungus infecting nutmeg collected from exporters. Aflatoxin B1 and total aflatoxin contents in nutmeg collected from farmers and exporters were relatively high. Based on the results of this study, the method of postharvest handling of nutmeg conducted by farmers, collectors and exporters in North Sulawesi province (North Minahasa, Sitaro and Sangihe Talaud regencies, Bitung and Manado cities) should be improved to minimize aflatoxin contamination.
Keywords : aflatoxin, fungi, Myristica fragrans Houtt., nutmeg, North Sulawesi province, delivery chain
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