Fruits are the edible part of a mature ovary of a flowering plant which are usually eaten raw, Naturally Fruits carry an epiphytic micro flora. During growth, harvest, transportation and further processing and handling the produce can be further contaminated with non-pathogenic and pathogenic organisms from the soil, human and animal sources. Fruit also includes many structures that are not commonly called fruits such as bean pods, corn kernels, tomatoes, and wheat grains. It mainly consists of mainly seed or seeds and the remains of the ovary wall called pericarp.
A fruit can also be defined as a mature or ripened ovary which consists of a pericarp and seed or seeds (ovules).
The importance of fruit in human nutrition cannot be overestimated as it provides essential growth factors such as vitamins and minerals necessary for proper body metabolism. However humans and animals have become dependent on fruits as a source of food.
The high concentration of various sugars, minerals, vitamins and amino-acids, and low PH also enhances the successful growth and survival of various parasitic and saprophytic forms of fungi.
Fruit is a seed-bearing part of a plant, often edible, colorful and fragrant, produced from a floral ovary after fertilization.
Aim of most the journals and researches I have read and came across have almost or similar details on the particular topic. Annual reports have shown that 20% of fruits and vegetables produced are lost to spoilage.( annual report ministry of livestock).
Naturally fruits are epiphytic micro flora, during growth, harvest and transportation and further processing and handling the produce can be further contaminated with non-pathogenic and pathogenic organisms from the soil, human and animal sources (beuchart,1995).Citrus senesis also known as sweet orange is the most popular of the citrus fruit.
Features of fruits.
It has a pericarp consisting of three parts epicarp, mescarp, and endocarp.
It encloses a seed or seeds. It has two scars, the remains of style and the point of attachment to the receptacle. A fruit may be true or false, it may be consisting of new parts which are;
A true fruit is a fruit that develops from a fertilized ovary e.g Mango.
A false fruit is one that develops from an unfertilized ovary e.g Banana, some pineapple etc. false fruits do not contain seeds.
Types of fruits
We have 3 types of fruits which are: Simple, aggregate and multiple fruits.
Simple fruits are formed from one flower with monocarpous or syncarpus pistil. They include;
Aggregate Fruit : These are formed from a flower with many carpels e.g.kola, water lily.
Multiple Fruit: These is formed from inflorescence i.e. (a collection of flowers on a receptacle e.g. pineapple).Some fruits have hooks on their wall which gets attached to the fur or clothes of passing animals to be dropped off some distance away from the parent plant where they germinate. The succulent texture and bright color attracts animals e.g. Tomato.
Fungi are eukaryotic, spore bearing acholophyllous organism that generally reproduce sexually/asexually (i.e. Telemorph and Anamorph). Saprophytes or parasites. They can be microscopic or macroscopic and are also cosmopolitan. They are usually filamentous branched, somatic structures are typically surrounded by cell walls containing chitin or cellulous or either of the two. Fungi are heterotrophic feeders since they lack photosynthesis pigment and do not ingest their food material, they absorb nutrients.
They produce Non-Motile mycelium (thread-like structure which is branching), they exhibit internal protoplasmic streaming. The nucleus may be unicleated or multi-nucleated. The thallus of a fungi may be homokaryotic or heterokaryotic,and, and may be haploid or dikaryotic. Similarly fungi have mutualistic symbiosis, they aid plant absorption of nutrient e.g. Mycohizzale relationship. We have three divisions of fungi;
I. Division Basidiomycota: there are many different forms of these division, most of which help decompose and breakdown wood. Litter, and animal droppings. Includes: mushrooms, puffballs, rusts, and jelly fungus. Reproduction is asexual by formation of spores. E.g. Cryptococcus, Trichosporon, Malassezia.
II. Division Ascomycota: reproduction is asexual by formation of conidia. There is no sporangia and hyphae is septate. E.g. Penicillin,Candida, Fusarium, and Aspergillus (saprotropic moulds). Saccharamycetes (yeast), unicellular saprotrophs: erysiphe, obligate parasite that causes powdery mildews, e.g. of barley.
III. Division Zygomycota: Reproduction is asexual by formation of conidia or sporangia containing spores. Hyphae is non-septate and thre is well developed branching mycelium. E.g. Rhyzopus stolonifeir, common bread mould, Mucor, common moulds are saprotrophic.
As parasites they cause economic loss to important plans of man or they infect man and causes diseases of man. Reproduction is plasmogamy, meiosis or via Para sexual reproduction, depolarization via asexual reproduction. Some economic importance of fungi are used in paper Production Company, pharmaceuticals, beverages, drug products and wild life. And also consumed by man e.g. mushrooms.
Aspergillus spp. Produces mycotoxins and other toxic metabolites which can be harmful to humans and animals globally (Hamza olatunde K. , Ramatu Osanupin). Microorganism, especially fungi, is known to destroy fruits, thereby reducing the quantity for consumption and the profits obtained from sales of fruits.
There is a need to identify these micro-organisms, especially those that are pathogenic to humans so as to reduce the risk of contamination and infection arising from handling and consumption of fruit. Therefore this study was undertaken to isolate and identify fungi associated with spoilt fruits commonly sold in Jabbi market, Abuja, and recommend appropriate control measures.