Comparative studies on the fungi and bio-chemical characteristics of snake gourd (Trichosanthes curcumerina Linn) and tomato (Lycopersicon esculentus Mill) in Rivers State, Nigeria.
Comparative studies on the fungi and biochemical characteristics of tomatoes (Lycopersicon esculentus [Lycopersicon esculentum]) and the snake gourd (Trichosanthes curcumerina [Trichosanthes cucumerina]) products were investigated in Rivers State, Nigeria, using various analytical procedures. Results of the proximate analysis of fresh snake gourd and tomatoes show that the essential minerals such as protein, ash, fibre, lipid, phosphorus and niacin contents were higher in snake gourd but low in carbohydrate, calcium, iron, vitamins A and C compared to the mineral fractions of tomatoes which has high values of calcium, iron, vitamins A and C. The mycoflora predominantly associated with the fruit rot of tomato were Fusarium oxysporum, Fusarium moniliforme [Gibberella moniliformis], Rhizopus stolonifer and Aspergillus niger, while other fungi isolates from snake gourd include Rhizopus stolonifer, Aspergillus niger, Aspergillus tamarii, Penicillium italicum and Neurospora crassa. Rhizopus stolonifer and Aspergillus niger were common spoilage fungi to both the tomato and snake gourd. All the fungal isolates were found to be pathogenic. The duration for storage of the fruits at room temperature (28±1°C) showed that tomato could store for 5 days while snake gourd stored for as much as 7 days. Sensory evaluation shows that snake gourd is preferred to tomatoes because of its culinary and medicinal importance.