Fungi spoilage organisms are silently invading acidifying, fermenting, discoloring, and disintegrating microbes that render corn (zea mays) unpalatable and unsafe. Fungi spoilage is caused by two factors, (biotic) living which includes insects, birds, rodents and microorganisms and (non-biotic) non-living which includes temperature, humidity and time. Two samples of spoilt corn, red (treated) and white were taken from the store respectivly for investigation to ascertain the microorganism associated with the spoilage of the corn. Attention was focused on fungi. Different methods were used in the identification and five genera were isolated. Mucor spp occurred with a frequency of approximately 6%, Aspergillus spp 9%, Rhizopus spp 15%, Penicillium spp 33% and Fusarium spp. 36%. Fusarium spp was most frequent in occurrence in both samples.
What food is more synonymous with summon than freshly picked corn on the cob? Corn grows in “ears, each of which is covered in rows of kernels that are then protected by the silk-like threads called “corn silk” and encased in a husk. Corn is known scientifically as Zea Mays. This moniker reflects its traditional name, Maize, by which it was known to the Native Americans as well as many other cultures throughout the world. Although we often associate corn with the colour yellow, it actually comes in host of different varieties featuring an array of different colors, including red, pink, black, purple and blue. Although corn is now available in markets years round, it is the locally grown varieties that you can purchase during the summer months that not only tastes the best but are usually the least expensive (Pitt and Hocking, et al., 2009).
From the time when primitive man began to cultivate crops and store food, spoilage fungi have demanded their tithe. Fuzzes, powders and slimes of white or black, green, orange, red and brown are signs of silently invading, acidifying, fermenting, discoloring and disintegrating microbes rending commodities unpalatable or unsafe (Pitt and Hocking 2002). Pitt and Hocking 2009, also stated that in a prophetic article warned of the danger from common spoilage fungi. Since 1960, a seemingly endless dream of pathogenic fungi discovered. On these ground alone, the statement “it is only a mould” is no longer acceptable to microbiologist, health inspectors or consumers. The demand for accurate identification and characterization of food spoilage fungi has become urgent.
This research work is focused on corn and its spoilage organisms. It set out to document current knowledge on the interaction of corn and fungi in the context of spoilage. Area covered are how the fungi is isolated using the suitable best media and identification of corn spoilage fungi. Mycologist develops preference and peculiarities of the type of fungi that are routinely grown. Media will affect colony morphology and color whether particular structures are formed or not, and may affect whether the fungus will be even in culture (Hunt et al, 2004).
1.1 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Corn (Zea Mays) is a grain grown by farmers in various parts of the world especially in Africa. Its spoilage most times limits its availability to consumers and causes economic waste to farmers. Corn is mostly spoiled by fungi. The identification and characterization of these spoilage organisms will go a long way to profer solution on matter how little to this problem of corn spoilage.
- AIMS/OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
To microbiologically evaluate and identify fungi involved in corn spoilage using maize as case study.
- LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
The study is limited to yellow corn (Maize) one among the two found in Nigeria. It was difficult to get samples from the field (farm) and store as keepers were not known. Finally, this work was money consuming as regard getting the laboratory materials and the laboratory analysis.
- SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The study will help in the acquisition of the knowledge of fungi associated or involved in the spoilage of corn, factors that enhance spoilage of corn and the risk involved in the consumption of spoilt corn.
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