In India chilli powder is sold both loose and packed under different brand names. During storage the quality of red chilli powder is under a major threat of fungal contamination as they are hygroscopic in nature. Deteriorating effect of storage fungi is especially of great concern as many of their strains may produce toxic secondary metabolites. In view of this, an investigation was conducted on loose and packed red chilli powder marketed in Jammu and Kashmir state to determine the association of Fusarium species and their toxins. Samples procured from different markets were found to be contaminated with only two species of Fusarium viz., F. semitectum and F. verticillioides. However, HPLC analysis conducted for estimating natural incidence of fusarial toxins revealed the presence of zearalenone (2.66 - 63.29 ?g/g), zearalenol (12.35 - 33.80 ?g/g) and deoxynivalenol (52.22 - 180.61 ?g/g) in the samples. Detection of three fusarial toxins in more than permissible limits from investigated samples suggests that dried red chilli powder is a favourable substrate for their production and therefore not completely safe for human consumption. In addition, low abundance of fusarial species in the samples does not necessarily imply the absence of their toxins. It is possible that some toxigenic fusarial species may have invaded the chillies before harvesting, during drying and storage and contaminated them with their toxins before actually getting destroyed by some biotic/abiotic factors.
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[Shallu Samyal and Geeta sumbali (2014); Detection of fusarial toxins from loose and packed red chilli powder marketed in Jammu and Kashmir state, India Int. J. of Adv. Res. 2 (2). 0] (ISSN 2320-5407). www.journalijar.com
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