RESEARCH PAPER
Assessment of microbiological cleanness of selected medicinal herbs in relations to the level of resource fragmentation
 
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1
Department of Allergology and Environmental Hazards, Institute of Rural Health, Lublin, Poland
2
Department of Food Engineering and Machines, University of Life Sciences in Lublin, Poland
3
Department of Mother and Child Health, Poznan University of Medical Science, Poland
CORRESPONDING AUTHOR
Wioletta Żukiewicz-Sobczak   

Department of Allergology and Environmental Hazards, Institute of Rural Health, Lublin, Poland
 
Ann Agric Environ Med. 2013;20(4):812–815
KEYWORDS
ABSTRACT
Herbs are commonly used in the food and pharmaceutical industries. Their vast use is connected with their antibacterial or antioxidising properties, as well as numerous pro-health properties. The aim of the presented research was assessment of the quantitative and qualitative composition of moulds which contaminate samples of dried herbs: Sage (Salvia officinalis L.), Camomile (Matricaria chamomilla L.) and Melissa (Mellisa officinalis L.) with different degrees of resource fragmentation. The dried herbs investigated had a characteristic mould content below 1•106 CFU/g according to the recommendations of the European Herbal Infusions Association (EHIA). The most contaminated resource turned out to be Camomile, the least – Melissa. The most often isolated moulds were: Aspergillus, Penicillium, Ulocladium, Alternaria. Moreover, it was observed that more fragmented dried herbs were characteristic of lower – by approx. 40–55% microbiological contamination -depending on the type of tested herb, which might be connected with the time of dried herbs’ processing, higher aeration, moisture changes or mechanical damaging of fungi’s fragments in the case of a resource with higher fragmentation. High contamination of a herbal resource might be harmful for a consumer, and moulds and their metabolites in the form of mitotoxins might constitute a threat for human health. To keep all the sensory features and activity of herbs’ active substances, it is extremely important to secure their high microbiological quality.
 
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