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Abstract

ISOLATION, IDENTIFICATION AND MOLECULAR CHARACTERIZATION OF MICROFLORA OBTAINED FROM SPICES AND SPICE MIXES.

*Priyanka Chaudhary and Padma Singh

ABSTRACT

Food borne disease outbreaks caused by spices have been on the increase in recent years. Spices are used for flavor, color, aroma, taste and preservation of food and beverages but like any other object, they are also not free from microbial association. The present investigation is therefore, designed to throw light on the microbial status of some ground spices and spice mixes including commercial brands. A total of twenty seven (eight local and nineteen commercially packed) samples were collected and analyzed to assess Total Bacterial Count (TBC) and Total Fungal Count (TFC). The TBC varied from the range of 104 to 107 cfu/gm with the highest of 5.9X107 cfu/gm. The microorganisms were identified through biochemical as well as molecular methods. Most of the isolates belong to the genus Bacillus. E.coli and Staphylococcus were also isolated from two samples. The total fungal count ranges from 102 to 106 with the highest of 6.3X106 cfu/gm. The most predominant ones were Aspergillus flavus (max.36.36%) and Mucor spp. (max. 37.5%).The counts obtained were higher than the maximum acceptable levels provided by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. It is therefore, recommended that strict hygienic measures should be observed during the mixing of the spice in order to reduce the microbial load to an acceptable level.

Keywords: Spices, Molecular characterization, Contamination, Bacterial count, Fungal count.


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