Microbiological contamination of dried culinary herbs

BARBARA WÓJCIK-STOPCZYŃSKA, BARBARA JAKUBOWSKA, MAJA REICHELT

Abstract

The aim of this work was an assessment of a microbiological quality of some dried herbs, offered in retail. A basil (Ocimum basilicum L.), marjoram (Origanum majorana L.), oregano (Origanum vulgare L.) savory (Satureja hortensis L.), tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus L.) and thyme (Thymus vulgaris L.) were investigated. The research material included 28 samples coming from five producers and was purchased in Szczecin in shops of various commercial networks. It was stated that the microbiological contamination was significantly differentiated depending on both: a kind of herbs and a producer. A mean count of microorganisms was the highest in basil while the lowest counts were detected in oregano and savory. A microbiological quality of the majority of the tested herbs attained standards. However, in 25% of the samples an excessive amount of bacteria (>105cfu∙g-1) was detected. Only in individual cases, there was a high contamination by moulds (>103cfu∙g-1) and coliforms (present in 0.01–0.001 g). Nevertheless, there were no E. coli, Salmonella sp. and coagulase (+) staphylococci in any sample. Key words: culinary herbs, bacteria, yeast, moulds, pathogenic organisms
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