Microbial Contamination of Locally-Prepared Snuff Sold at Eke-Awka Market, Anmbra State, Nigeria

Onuorah Samuel, Orji Michael


Introduction: Snuff is one of the many products of tobacco. It is prepared by certain processes that involve fermentation and aging. Microorganisms have been found to play important roles in these processes of snuff production. Snuff has been recommended by physicians as a better substitute for cigarettes.

Methods: The microbial contamination of locally-prepared snuff sold in Eke-Awka Market, Anambra State was studied with a view to determining their suitability for use. The bacteria were isolated using nutrient agar, cetrimide agar and mannitol salt agar as the growth media while potato dextrose agar was the growth medium for the isolation of the fungi.

Results: The bacterial counts ranged between 3.0 × 102 cfu/g and 6.7 × 102 cfu/g while the fungal counts were between 1.0 × 102 cfu/g and 4.6 × 102 cfu/g. The bacteria were identified as Corynebacterium bovis, Micrococcus luteus, Staphylococcus aureus, Staphylococcus epidermidis, Bacillus subtilis and Pseudomonas aeruginosa while the fungi were Aspergillus niger, Rhizopus stolonifer, Alternaria alternata, Geotrichum candidum, Penicillium italicum and Aspergillus flavus. Staphylococcus aureus occurred most frequently (28.57%) among the bacteria in the samples while Aspergillus niger had the highest frequency of occurrence (25.00%) among the fungal isolates.

Conclusions: These microorganisms which may have entered the snuff from the air, soil, dust, storage containers and human handlers are known to cause diseases of man. Snuff should therefore be processed, packaged and handled hygienically to avoid its contamination with these organisms and the health risk they pose to the users.


Tobacco; Eke-Awka Market; Nigeria

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.21859/ajlsr-040301


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