Forty-eight samples of four popular commercial brands of black tea (Camellia sinensis L.) were purchased from the local markets in Muscat area, Sultanate of Oman. Tea leaves were surveyed for mycoflora. Five fungal species were isolated with A. niger as the most dominant in all the brands having percentage contamination ranging between 0.66% and 30.34%. Other fungi isolated were Aspergillus flavus, Penicillium spp. and Pacelomyces spp. but having average percentages of 0.6%, 0.84% and 0.21% respectively. Significant differences were found among the batches contaminated by A. niger. None of the 25 A. flavus strains screened for aflatoxins were found aflatoxigenic. The total ash, water-soluble ash, and mineral concentration of the samples were within the British standards and were not affected by fungal contamination. The results showed that black tea is contaminated by fungi that might constitute health hazards for humans. The post harvest contamination of tea could be eliminated or reduced if processing is conducted under more hygienic conditions.
- Aspergillus niger
- Black tea
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
- Plant Science