Survival and growth behavior of common foodborne pathogens in falafel paste under different storage temperatures

Murad A. Al-Holy, Amin N. Olaimat, Anas A. Al-Nabulsi, Hamzah Al-Qadiri, Mahmoud H. Abughoush, Tareq M. Osaili, Mutamed Ayyash, Maysa Alawneh, Barbara A. Rasco

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Falafel is a popular breakfast food in the Middle East that has been recently involved in several outbreaks of foodborne illnesses. The aim of the study was to explore the growth behavior of Salmonella enterica, Escherichia coli O157:H7, Shigella sonnie, Shigella flexneri, Listeria monocytogenes and Staphylococcus aureus in falafel paste (FP) under different storage temperatures (4, 10, or 24 °C) for 14 days. FP (pH = 6.2, aw = 0.96) was inoculated with 5.0 to 6.0 log CFU/g of each of the pathogens separately. Salmonella spp. significantly declined by 1.5 log at 4 °C but grew significantly by ca. 2 and 4 log at 10 and 24 °C, respectively after 14 days. E. coli O157:H7 significantly increased (4.5 log) in FP when stored under 24 °C and survived at a level of ~105 CFU/g at 10 °C. Comparatively, Sh. sonnie and Sh. flexneri showed a better survival pattern in FP stored under 4 °C and grew (˃ 3 log) after 5 days at 10 and 24 °C. L. monocytogenes was capable of growing by 1.9 and 4.3 log after 14 d days and by 3.9 log after 3 days at 4, 10, or 24 °C, respectively. No significant decline in S. aureus counts at 4 and 10 °C occurred, however, it increased significantly to ˃ 7 log CFU/g at 24 °C. Total mesophilic count and yeast and mold count reached to spoilage levels (˃107 CFU/g) in un-inoculated FP after 1 and 3 days of storage at 24 and 10 °C, respectively. FP could support the growth of common foodborne pathogens and hence it is recommended to utilize natural antimicrobials in FP and keep the product under refrigeration (4 °C) to preclude the growth of vegetative foodborne pathogens.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number110609
    JournalInternational Journal of Food Microbiology
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2 2024


    • Escherichia coli O157:H7
    • Falafel
    • Listeria monocytogenes
    • Salmonella enterica
    • Shigella flexneri
    • Shigella sonnie
    • Staphylococcus aureus

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Food Science
    • Microbiology


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