FOOD. Science. Technology. Quality

Food. SCIENCE. Technology. Quality

Food. Science. TECHNOLOGY. Quality

Food. Science. Technology. QUALITY




Assessing microbiological contamination of fresh basil and mint


The objective of this paper was to determine the microbiological quality of various fresh basil varieties and mint species immediately after their harvest on the fields. The research material covered four varieties of basil (Ocimum basilicum): ‘Fine Verde’, ‘Genovese’, ‘Red Rubin’, and ‘Wala’, as well as the following mint herbs: Mentha x piperita f. pallescens, Mentha x piperita var. citrata, Mentha crispa, and Mentha aquatica. Shoots with leaves (unwashed), harvested before blooming, were analyzed. It was found that the total counts of mesophilic bacteria, yeasts, and moulds amounted to 104-106, 103-10and 102-10cfu·g-1, respectively. Individual varieties of basil and individual mint species significantly differed as regards their contamination by bacteria, yeast, and moulds. In the basil, the average count of bacteria and moulds amounted to 10and 104 cfu·g-1, respectively, and those count levels were significantly higher than in the mint with those count levels being 10and 10cfu·g-1. However, according to the HACCP requirements, the majority of herbs analyzed were characterized by a medium degree of contamination by mesophilic micro-organisms except for the ‘Fine Verde’ basil that showed a high contamination degree. The sanitary and hygienic condition of the bergamot mint and ‘Red Rubin’ basil raised reservations because they were contaminated by E. coli. The titre of coliforms oscillated between >0.1 and 0.001g. In no basil and mint samples, Salmonella sp. and staphylococci coagulase (+) occurred. In all the basil varieties and mint species, the mould fungi were mainly represented by Alternaria, Cladosporium, and Botrytis.


fresh herbs, basil, mint, microbiological contamination