ISSN 2308-4057 (Print),
ISSN 2310-9599 (Online)

Microbial indices of industrial and traditional medicinal herbs in Ahvaz, Iran

Introduction. Medicinal herbs are susceptible to microbial contamination which can have profound effects on the consumer’s health. Our study aimed to evaluate microbial contamination of common medicinal herbs in Ahvaz.
Study objects and methods. We collected 80 samples of traditional and industrial medicinal plants from the supply market, namely valeriana, fennel, licorice, and shirazi thyme. The reference method was used to determine microbial indices such as the total count of microorganisms, yeast and mold, Bacillus cereus, coliforms, and Escherichia coli.
Results and discussion. We found that the total microbial count, yeast and mold, B. cereus, and coliform contamination accounted for 45, 77, 55, and 55% of the total samples, respectively, exceeding the allowed limits. There was a significant difference between the industrial and traditional samples in fungal and coliform contamination, with the traditional samples being more highly contaminated. However, no significant difference was observed between them in total count and B. cereus contamination. E. coli contamination was detected in 31.2% of the samples, mostly in traditional. Total microbial count and yeast and mold contamination were highest among valeriana plants. Fennel showed the highest B. cereus and coliform contamination. The lowest contamination was observed in licorice.
Conclusion. The results showed that a considerable percentage of the medicinal herbs under study were contaminated at levels exceeding the standard limits. Plants could be contaminated during harvesting, processing or storage. Finally, different species of plants have different antimicrobial activities that affect their microbial contamination.
Microbiology, microbial contamination, quality control, medicinal herbs, total microbial count
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How to quote?
Ameri A, Ekhtelat M, Shamsaei S. Microbial indices of industrial and traditional medicinal herbs in Ahvaz, Iran. Foods and Raw Materials. 2020;8(1):134–139. DOI:
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