Fumonisins are mycotoxins synthesized by various species of the genus Fusarium and are hazardous for human and animal health. The purpose of this study was to investigate fumonisin B1 (FB1) in herbal tea consumed especially by Saudi population. FB1 was detected using high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) with fluorescence detection. Forty-seven commercially available samples for infusions preparations were collected and analyzed for FB1. The detectable amount for FB1 ranged from 0 - 266 µg/kg. All the herbal tea samples were evaluated for the fungal contamination and the presence of mycotoxigenic fungi. Results indicate that predominant mycoflora were distributed in 13 genera representing 25 species. From these, the genera Aspergillus,Penicillium and Fusarium which considered extremely important from the mycotoxicological standpoint were the most abundant fungi. The presence of toxigenic moulds represents a potential risk of mycotoxin contamination. Considering the worldwide increased use of herbal products as alternative medicines, it is necessary setting standards for moulds in crude herbal tea in order to reduce the risks for consumers' health.
Key words: Fumonisins, herbal tea, mycotoxins, fungi, Fusarium, toxigenic fungi.
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