Aflatoxin contamination of sliver cyprind(mukene) sold in shops and markets in Kikoni.
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The Silver Cyprinid R.argentea (Mukene) provides a highly nourishing and reasonably priced source of protein. After Nile tilapia and Nile perch, mukene is one of Uganda's top three commercial fish species. However, there is improper handling and storage of mukene which enhances the growth of harmful fungi that degrade fish quality, posing health hazards to customers. little attention has been paid to the issue. In this study, the aflatoxin and fungal contamination of silver cyprinid (Mukene) sold in Kikoni shops and markets was established. For this study, semi quantification of aflatoxins was done to establish the degree of intensity of the mycotoxin present in silver cyprinid. For assessment of the fungal contamination direct surface plating was used to identify and enumerate the colonies. Silver cyprinid was found contaminated with several fungal species namely, Aspergillus spp, Fusarium spp, Trichoderma spp, Rhizopus spp, Penicillium spp, Mucor sp and Neurospora spp. Their concentration of fungi in the silver cyprinid samples ranged from 400 to 4500 CFU/g with a median of 1700 CFU/g. All samples were contaminated with aflatoxins however 75% (n=12) of them had high-intensity (> 10 ppb) of aflatoxins. Traders kept the fish in dirty sacks laid on the ground. Some fish traders observed standard operating procedures by putting on aprons (47%) but none had hand gear while handling fish and money. Which indicated compromised hygienic standards. High concentration of fungi and high prevalence of high intensity of aflatoxin can be attributed to poor post-harvest practices by fishermen and high rainfall and floods in Uganda. This is proven by a high average moisture content of the mukene found in this study of 14.3 ± 2.03% (18.2%, 11%). In conclusion, silver cyprinid sold in Kikoni was therefore contaminated with fungi which led to a high prevalence of high-intensity aflatoxins. Traders who deal in mukene should improve personal hygiene and sanitation when handling and displaying the fish for sale. Fishermen and other value-chain stakeholders should engage in better post-harvest practices and also be sensitized about the threats of aflatoxins in food and feeds.