Full Length Research Paper
The production of groundnut is constrained by several factors, among which is Aspergillus spp. In addition to causing quantitative losses, Aspergillus spp. produce highly toxic and carcinogenic chemical substances known as aflatoxins. This study was conducted with the objectives to (i) identify Aspergillus species associated with groundnuts, (ii) determine the frequency of seed contamination, and (iii) survey agro-ecological conditions related to groundnut contamination by Aspergillus spp. About 270 groundnut samples were collected from farmers’ storage, fields and local markets of three districts that is, Babile, Darolabu and Gursum of Eastern Ethiopia for mycological analysis in the year 2010. Results of the mycological analysis suggested heavy infestation of groundnut samples by various molds including Aspergillus niger, Aspergillus flavus, Aspergillus ochraceus, Aspergillus parasiticus and Pencillium species. At the district level, the incidence of infected groundnut kernels ranged from 50 to 80%. Within the district kernel infection varied between 36.3 and 100%. The common Aspergillus symptoms (yellowing or chlorotic leaves, wilting, drying and brown or black mass covered by yellow or greenish spores) were also observed in groundnut fields. The current results were consistent with our earlier report of heavy aflatoxin contamination of groundnut from the same places, suggesting the urgent need to apply control measures against toxigenic fungi and associated mycotoxins.
Key words: Aspergillus spp., groundnut, Penicillium spp., Ethiopia.
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