Quality deterioration of phane, the edible caterpillar of an emperor moth Imbrasia belina.
The cause for the deterioration of quality in phane, the edible larva of I. belina [Gonimbrasia belina] was investigated. Samples were subjected to bacteriological and mycological analyses. In addition insect pests which affect storage life of the product were also assessed. 70% of the bacterial isolates associated with phane were proteolytic and 75% were either chitinolytic, lipolytic or both. Most isolates were sporeformers. But, other Gram-positive and negative isolates were also present in significant numbers. The most frequent fungal isolates were species of Aspergillus, Penicillium, Fusarium, Cladosporium and phycomycetes. Some of the fungal isolates are known to be mycotoxin producers. The insect which were associated with phane were Dermestes maculatus, Sitophilus zeamais, Corcyra cephalonica, Tribolium confusum, T. casteneum, Oryzaephilus surinamensis, Bracon hebetor, Anisopteromalus cavandrae, and Stathmopoda species. Mites were also found infesting stored phane. The postharvest deterioration of phane appeared to be a concerted effort by the bacteria, moulds and insects.