Inactivation of stressed Salmonella enterica, Escherichia coli O157:H7, and Listeria monocytogenes in hummus using low dose gamma irradiation

Amin N. Olaimat, Anas A. Al-Nabulsi, Tareq M. Osaili, Murad Al-Holy, Mahmoud Abu Ghoush, Hana Alkhalidy, Ziad W. Jaradat, Mutamed Ayyash, Richard A. Holley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Abstract: Hummus is a popular dip in the Middle East region prepared by mixing the boiled chickpeas with tahini and other ingredients, and because its consumption has increased world-wide some notoriety has developed following an increase in the incidence of hummus-related illness outbreaks and recalls. The objectives of the current research were (i) to study the efficiency of low dose gamma irradiation to inhibit Escherichia coli O157:H7, Salmonella enterica, and Listeria monocytogenes in hummus, and (ii) to assess the effect of environmental stresses namely cold, heat, and desiccation on the resistance of these pathogens to gamma irradiation. The samples of hummus were prepared and then individually inoculated with approximately 7.0 log CFU/g of unstressed or cold-, heat-, or desiccated-stressed cocktail cultures of each of E. coli O157:H7, S. enterica, and L. monocytogenes. The inoculated samples were then exposed to gamma irradiation at doses of 0.1 to 0.6 kGy. The numbers of unstressed E. coli O157:H7, S. enterica, and L. monocytogenes were decreased by 0.6–3.9, 0.7–2.9, and 1.0–3.0 log CFU/g, respectively, by irradiation treatment. The resistance of E. coli O157:H7 to gamma irradiation was not affected by desiccation, heat, and cold stresses. However, the pre-exposure of S. enterica and L. monocytogenes cells to these stresses reduced their resistance toward gamma irradiation. Practical Application: Gamma irradiation is a non-thermal treatment that can be used in food processing to ensure food safety and quality. The current study proved that low levels (≤0.6 kGy) of gamma irradiation can effectively decrease the risk of unstressed and cold-, heat-, or desiccation-stressed Salmonella enterica, Listeria monocytogenes, or Escherichia coli O157:H7 in hummus.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)845-855
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Food Science
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2022


  • D-value
  • Escherichia coli O157:H7
  • Listeria monocytogenes
  • environmental stresses
  • gamma irradiation
  • hummus
  • ready to eat
  • salmonella

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science


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