Studies were undertaken on mycotoxin contamination and induced biochemical changes in some important medicinal plants. For the purpose of study four important medicinal plants namely Azadirachta indica, Emblica officinalis, Plantago ovata and Vitex negundo were selected. Samples were collected from different localities of Uttarakhand (India). Mycotoxin producing fungi like A. flavus, A. ochraceus, F. verticillioides and Penicillium citrinum were recorded. In comparison to other mycotoxigenic fungi, percentage toxigenicity was higher in Aspergillus flavus. In case of E. officinalis, 32.69% isolates of A.flavus were toxigenic and produced aflatoxins up to 21 µg/ml in the liquid media followed by A. indica where 22.2% isolates produced aflatoxin in the range of 0.4-13.8 µg/ml. In case of V. negundo and P. ovata 14.28% and 8% isolates of A. flavus elaborated aflatoxin B1,B2 and aflatoxin B1 respectively at low concentration. Mycotoxin contamination in stored samples of E. officinalis and V. negundo showed aflatoxin B1 and aflatoxin B1,B2 as natural contaminant. Twenty eight percent (28%) samples of E. officinalis exhibited higher concentration of aflatoxins up to 0.98 µg/g whereas in case of V. negundo 6% samples were found naturally contaminated with aflatoxin B1. Alkaloid content of medicinal plant produce understudy was estimated in healthy as well as A. flavus infested samples.There was an indication of inhibition in the total alkaloid content due to the toxigenic strain of A. flavus. Statistical analysis of the results show a decline in the level of total alkaloid content due to fungal contamination significant at 5% level of significance.
Dr. (Mrs.) Punam Kumari Singh
Indira Gandhi National Open University, New Delhi, India.