Seasonal Diversity and Occurrence of Filamentous Fungi in Smallholder Dairy Cattle Feeds and Feedstuffs in South Africa

Oluwasola Abayomi Adelusi, Sefater Gbashi, Janet Adeyinka Adebiyi, Rhulani Makhuvele, Adeola Oluwakemi Aasa, Oluwaseun Mary Oladeji, Minenhle Khoza, Sheila Okoth, Patrick Berka Njobeh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


This study investigated 65 (35 in summer and 30 in winter) smallholder dairy cattle feeds from Free State and Limpopo provinces in South Africa from 2018 to 2019 for fungal contamination and assessed the impacts of seasonal variation on fungal contamination levels, isolation frequency, and diversity. Samples were examined for fungal contamination using macro- and microscopic approaches, and their identities were confirmed by molecular means. A total of 217 fungal isolates from 14 genera, including Aspergillus, Fusarium, and Penicillium, were recovered from feeds from both seasons. The most prevalent fungal species recovered were A. fumigatus and P. crustosum. Mycological analyses showed that 97% of samples were contaminated with one or more fungal isolates, with the summer fungal mean level (6.1 × 103 to 3.0 × 106 CFU/g) higher than that of feeds sampled during winter (mean level: 1.1 × 103 to 4.1 × 105 CFU/g). Independent sample t-test revealed that the isolation frequencies of the genera Aspergillus and Fusarium were significantly (p ≤ 0.05) higher in summer than winter, while Penicillium prevalence in both seasons was not statistically (p > 0.05) different. Furthermore, the Shannon–Weiner diversity index (H′) revealed a higher fungal diversity in summer (H′ = 2.8) than in winter (H′ = 2.1). This study on fungal contamination could be used for future fungal control and mycotoxin risk management in South Africa.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1192
JournalJournal of Fungi
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2022


  • dairy feed
  • fungi
  • mycotoxins
  • seasonal variation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Plant Science
  • Microbiology (medical)


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