Drinking yerba mate infusion: a potential risk factor for invasive fungal diseases?
ABSTRACT Yerba mate (Ilex paraguariensis) infusion is a very popular drink in South America. Although several studies have evaluated the potential for fungal contamination in foodstuff, very few investigations have been conducted with yerba mate samples. In order to evaluate for the presence of potentially pathogenic fungi, here we studied 8 brands of yerba mate commercially available in Southern Brazil. Fungal survival in adverse conditions such as gastric pH was determined by incubating samples at pH 1.5. Because hot water is generally used to prepare yerba mate infusion, the effect of several temperatures on fungal growth was also investigated. All but 1 yerba mate brand showed substantial fungal growth, in the range of <10–4900 colony-forming units per gram. Some of these fungi were able to survive extreme variations in pH and temperature. Because of the potential for yerba mate to carry pathogenic fungi, immunocompromised patients may be at risk of acquiring invasive fungal diseases by drinking yerba mate infusion.