Use of acetic and citric acids to control Salmonella Typhimurium in tahini (sesame paste)

Anas A. Al-Nabulsi, Amin N. Olaimat, Tareq M. Osaili, Reyad R. Shaker, Noor Zein Elabedeen, Ziad W. Jaradat, Aisha Abushelaibi, Richard A. Holley

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    40 Citations (Scopus)


    Since tahini and its products have been linked to Salmonella illness outbreaks and product recalls in recent years, this study assessed the ability of Salmonella Typhimurium to survive or grow in commercial tahini and when hydrated (10% w/v in water), treated with 0.1%-0.5% acetic or citric acids, and stored at 37, 21 and 10°C for 28d. S. Typhimurium survived in commercial tahini up to 28d but was reduced in numbers from 1.7 to 3.3log10CFU/ml. However, in the moist or hydrated tahini, significant growth of S. Typhimurium occurred at the tested temperatures. Acetic and citric acids at ≤0.5% reduced S. Typhimurium by 2.7-4.8log10CFU/ml and 2.5-3.8log10CFU/ml, respectively, in commercial tahini at 28d. In hydrated tahini the organic acids were more effective. S. Typhimurium cells were not detected in the presence of 0.5% acetic acid after 7d or with 0.5% citric acid after 21d at the tested temperatures. The ability of S. Typhimurium to grow or survive in commercial tahini and products containing hydrated tahini may contribute to salmonellosis outbreaks; however, use of acetic and citric acids in ready-to-eat foods prepared from tahini can significantly minimize the risk associated with this pathogen.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)102-108
    Number of pages7
    JournalFood Microbiology
    Publication statusPublished - Sept 2014


    • Acetic acid
    • Citric acid
    • Organic acids
    • Salmonella typhimurium
    • Sesame paste
    • Tahini

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Food Science
    • Microbiology


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