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Evaluation of Fungal Burden and Aflatoxin Presence in Packed Medicinal Plants Treated by Gamma Radiation

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This study was developed to evaluate the fungal burden, toxigenic molds, and mycotoxin contamination and to verify the effects of gamma radiation in four kinds of medicinal plants stored before and after 30 days of irradiation treatment. Eighty samples of medicinal plants (Peumus boldus, Camellia sinensis, Maytenus ilicifolia, and Cassia angustifolia) purchased from drugstores, wholesale, and open-air markets in São Paulo city, Brazil, were analyzed. The samples were treated using a 60Co gamma ray source (Gammacell) with doses of 5 and 10 kGy. Nonirradiated samples were used as controls of fungal isolates. For enumeration of fungi on medicinal plants, serial dilutions of the samples were plated in duplicate onto dichloran 18% glycerol agar. The control samples revealed a high burden of molds, including toxigenic fungi. The process of gamma radiation was effective in reducing the number of CFU per gram in all irradiated samples of medicinal plants after 30 days of storage, using a dose of 10 kGy and maintaining samples in a protective package. No aflatoxins were detected. Gamma radiation treatment can be used as an effective method for preventing fungal deterioration of medicinal plants subject to long-term storage.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Instituto Biológico de São Paulo, Av. Conselheiro Rodrigues Alves, 1252, CEP 04014-002, São Paulo, SP, Brazil. 2: Instituto Biológico de São Paulo, Av. Conselheiro Rodrigues Alves, 1252, CEP 04014-002, São Paulo, SP, Brazil 3: Instituto de Ciências Biomédicas, Universidade de São Paulo, Av. Prof. Lineu Prestes, 1374, CEP 05508-000, São Paulo, SP, Brazil

Publication date: May 1, 2010

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