DETECTION OF FUNGAL CONTAMINATION IN CEREALS BY ERGOSTEROL JYOTI SAXENA Department of Bioscience and Biotechnology, Banasthali Vidyapith, Distt. Tonk-30402, India Background & Objectives Mycologists are using many conventional methods to detect and measure the microbial biomass since long. Recently some chemical methods have been developed to assess the fungal contamination which are less time consuming and can count non-viable spores as well. These are based on the determination of mycelial constituents such as chitin and ergosterol. Ergosterol is one of the predominant sterol compound which is found in nearly all fungi but does not present in higher plants in substantial amount. This methods is reported to more sensitive, rapid and convenient than other methods [1]. Materials & Methods Aspergillus flavus and A.parasiticus were tested in two most commonly used cereals viz., wheat and rice for mould count and ergosterol estimation. Spread plate technique was used for total mould count and the method of Seitz and Mohr [2] was used very conveniently for detection of fungal infestation in cereals. References 1. Seitz LM,Mohr HE< Burroughs R,Sauer DB, 1977. Cereal Chemistry 54, 1207-1217. 2. Seitz LM, Mohr HE, 1986. Personal communication.