Fungi and aflatoxins associated with spices in the Sultanate of Oman

Abdulkadir E. Elshafie*, Tahiya A. Al-Rashdi, Saif N. Al-Bahry, Charles S. Bakheit

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

80 Citations (SciVal)


One hundred and five samples of seven spices (cumin, cinnamon, clove, black pepper, cardamom, ginger, and coriander) were purchased from five popular companies in the Sultanate of Oman. The spices were surveyed for the mycoflora and aflatoxins. Twenty fungal species were isolated in which Aspergillus flavus, A. niger. Penicillium, Rhizopus, and Syncephalastrum racemosum were the most dominant. When colony forming units per gm (cfu/gm) of fungi were compared, significant differences were found among spices and companies. Of the seven spices studied, clove was found to be the least contaminated, while cumin was the most contaminated. None of the 15 selected samples of the spices contaminated by A. flavus were found to contain aflatoxins. Nevertheless, nine isolates (45%) of the twenty A. flavus strains screened for aflatoxins were aflatoxigenic. The moisture content of most of the spices was below the maximum standard limit. The results showed that the spices were contaminated by some fungi that might constitute health hazards for humans.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)155-160
Number of pages6
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Aflatoxins
  • Aspergillus flavus
  • Mycoflora
  • Spices

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • veterinary (miscalleneous)


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