Occurrence of pathogenic fungi on commercially available medicinal plants and packaged seeds
Introduction: Pathogenic fungi decrease the quality of commercially available medicinal plants and packaged seeds. Some of fungal pathogens can produce mycotoxins harmful to human health. Objective: To evaluate the health status of commercially available medicinal plants and check if packaged seeds of these plants are free from pathogenic fungi. Methods: An experiment was conducted on potted plants of lemon balm, peppermint and sweet basil, commercially available and intended for direct use by consumers. For microbiological analyses, 100 stems and leaves of each species were randomly taken. Furthermore, the health of 100 seeds of each species was examined using agar plate method. Results: Ten species and genera of pathogenic fungi were isolated from shoots, leaves and seeds of investigated plants. Some of them are toxin-forming species. Lemon balm was the most infected species. Conclusion: Bearing in mind the health of consumers, more attention should be paid to the microbiological purity of commercially available medicinal plants and packaged seeds.