Moulds, yeasts and aerobic plate counts in ginseng supplements.Int J Food Microbiol. 2006 Apr 25; 108(2):178-81.IJ
Forty six ginseng supplement samples including Siberian ginseng root, Chinese ginseng herb and root, and American ginseng root and extract were purchased from retail in the Washington, DC area and from Penn Herb Co. (Philadelphia, PA) and tested for mould and yeast (MY) contamination and the presence of aerobic mesophilic bacteria (APC). Results indicated that 100% of the Siberian ginseng samples were contaminated with fungi and bacteria. MY counts ranged from 8.0 x 10(2) to 1.4 x 10(3) cfu/g whereas the APCs were between 2.3 x 10(4) and 1.0 x 10(6) cfu/g. Most common fungi encountered in this commodity were Penicillium spp., Eurotium rubrum, E. chevalieri and Rhizopus spp. Seventy-eight percent of the Chinese ginseng herb samples were contaminated with fungi and 89% with bacteria at levels ranging between <100 and 6.0 x 10(4) and <100 and 1.2 x 10(6) cfu/g, respectively. Moulds commonly isolated were Alternaria alternata, Aspergillus niger, Aspergillus spp., Cladosporium spp., E. chevalieri, Penicillium spp. and Rhizopus spp. Fifty six percent of the Chinese ginseng root samples tested contained fungi (A. niger, Rhizopus spp. and yeasts), and 100% contained bacteria. Fungal counts ranged between <100 and 1.4 x 10(3) cfu/g and APCs were between 3.0 x 10(2) and 6.8 x 10(5) cfu/g. Forty-eight percent of the American ginseng root samples contained moulds and 30% showed bacterial contamination. MY counts were between <100 and 4.3 x 10(5) cfu/g whereas APCs were between <100 and 4.5 x 10(4) cfu/g. A. flavus was isolated from 9% and Penicillium spp. were recovered from 39% of the tested samples. This is the first report of A. flavus contamination in ginseng supplements. No moulds or yeasts were found in ginseng extract, but 50% of these samples contained bacteria at levels ranging between <100 and 1.0 x 10(3) cfu/g.