The leaves of Terminallia catappa (almond leave) have been used as a local package material for food in Nigeria for ages without the knowledge of the micro-organisms that inhabit the leaves. Fungi associated with disinfected and non- disinfected leaves of Terminallia catappa from two ancient cities in Nigeria were investigated. Results shows fungi and yeast inhabit the leaves and they includes Aspergillus niger, A. flavus, A. terrus, A. niger, Alternaria, Rhizopus, Fusarium,and Candida. The fungal count ranged from 1.0 x 106 to 1.9 x 106 (cfu/g) and 3.0 x 106 to 8.5 x 106 cfu/g for the surface disinfected and non surface disinfected leaves from Ago- Iwoye in Ogun state while for Ibadan in Oyo state the fungal count ranged from 1.54 x 106 to 2.0 x 106 and 4.30 x 106 to 12.06 x 106 for surface disinfected and non surface disinfected leaves respectively. Aspergillus flavus has the highest abundance in the leave at 97%. Fungi present in the surface disinfected leaves were also present in non-surface disinfected leaves only for the counts, which were higher in non- disinfected leaves. There is a need to regulate the use of Terminalia catappa leaves as food packaging material in Nigeria because of the pathogenic organisms it harbours if public health must be protected.
Keywords: Terminallia catappa, food packaging material, fungi, pathogenic, Nigeria