Mycotoxigenic Moulds Associated with Coffee and Their Management (A Review)

Demelash Teferi


Coffee is produced in tropical countries where climatic conditions favor mould growth and  development. Moulds are multicellular, filamentous fungi that can grow and produce mycotoxins as secondary metabolites on plants either during pre-harvest or post-harvest, storage, transport, processing, and feeding. Mycotoxins are fungal metabolites and chemical defenses that cause lowered performance, sickness or death in human or animals. Aspergillus, Penicillium and Fusarium species are common and important moulds in the human environment and are among the main agents of spoilage of food and feeds. Problems associated with the occurrence of mycotoxins in coffee have become concern to consumers as well as producers. Several studies have reported Ochratoxin A (OTA) presence in raw coffee. OTA is a form of mycotoxin, produced as a metabolic product of Aspergillus ochraceus, Aspergillus carbonarius and strains of Aspergillus niger. Its presence or absence in any sample is probably related to the length of storage rather than to geographical location or other factors. Most importing countries regulate mycotoxins by setting maximum allowable concentration. The European Union (EU) which are among major buyers of coffee from producing countries set maximum permissible limits for OTA of 5 particles per billion (ppb) in roasted and ground coffee, and 10 ppb in instant coffees. This is a serious indicator for coffee producing and selling countries on how they manage their products. Key factors in the successful management of OTA involve good agricultural practices (GAP) and good manufacturing practices (GMP). As it has great influence on countries economy in general and producers income in particular Strict measures should  be taken to improve post-harvest handling and processing of coffee, specially drying of bulk coffee along asphalt roads and bare soils should seriously be discouraged. Research is needed on identification of inexpensive and appropriate sampling and testing protocols of mycotoxins associated with coffee in various coffee agro-ecologies and production systems.

Keywords: moulds, Ochratoxin A

DOI: 10.7176/JBAH/9-8-06

Publication date: April 30th 2019

Full Text: PDF
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ISSN (Paper)2224-3208 ISSN (Online)2225-093X

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