ISOLATION AND CHARACTERIZATION OF FUNGI ASSOCIATED WITH “SPOILED” TOMATOES IN GWAGWALADA. A RESEARCH PROJECT MATERIAL ON BIOCHEMISTRY
The study examined the various fungal pathogens associated with tomatoes spoilage as well as their preliminary taxonomic grouping up to genus level. 25 samples of the spoiled tomatoes were collected from five locations within Gwagwalada area council. Locations include: Passo Village, Gwagwalada market, Phase III, New Kutunku and Dagiri. Thesame prevalence rate(100%) was recorded for all tomato samples purchased in all locations.The level of awareness of the general public in regards to the spoilage of tomatoes by Fungi was very significant with about 62.5% of the respondents attesting to the claim of tomato spoilage caused by Fungi and 37.5% disagreeing. Morphological studies reveal the fungal members which include members of the genus Aspergillus, Cladosporium, Fusarium, MucorPenicilliumand Rhizopus species. Species of Fusarium were seen to be the most occurring in all samples. Satistical analysis also concurred to the fact that fungi are responsible for spoilage of tomatoes purchached in Gwagwalada (p< 0.05). It implies that fungi are greatly responsible for tomato spoilage. Proper handling, transportation and thorough washing with clean or chlorinated water will go a long way in reducing the risk of tomato spoilage by Fungi.
Vegetables constitute commercially and nutritionally important indispensable food commodity. Vegetable naturally play a vital role in human nutrition by supplying the necessary growth factors such as vitamins and essential minerals in human daily diet and that can help to keep a good and normal health. Vegetables are widely distributed in nature. One of the limiting factors that influence the fruit economic value is the relatively short shelf-life period caused by pathogen’s attack (Droby, 2006: Zhu, 2006).
Tomato (Lycopersiconesculentum) pronounced Toh-MAH-to is the most important vegetable worldwide. Tomato is an annual plant which belongs to the Solanaceaefamily which includes other well-known species such as Potato, Tobacco, Pepper and Egg plants (aubergine) and can reach a height of over two meters. It’s a berry fruit, tomato is grown mainly in soil (Frazier and Westhoff,2004).
Tomato is essential mainly for its dietary needs and can be consumed in diverse ways. It can be cooked as vegetable, as an ingredient in many dishes and sauces; in the making of stew, fruit juices and can be eaten raw in salads(Masefield et al., 2002).