Author(s): Siddig Hussein Hamad
The microbial contamination of samples of processed date fruits collected from a factory in Al-Hofuf City, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, was measured immediately after processing and then after refrigerated storage at 4- 7°C for 2, 4 and 6 months. Freshly processed samples were found contaminated with potential spoilage microorganisms including mesophilic aerobic bacteria, molds, and yeasts. The amount of contamination in general decreased steadily with storage time. The main contaminants of freshly processed fruits were mesophilic aerobic bacteria and the mold Aspergillus niger. The yeasts Zygosaccharomyces mellis, Debaryomyces hansenii, Candida lipolytica, and Torulaspora delbrueckii were detected in stored samples up to 6 months. Coliforms, fecal coliforms and nonpathogenic Escherichia coli strains were detected in freshly processed samples and in samples stored for 2 months. The potential pathogens Staphylococcus aureus and Aspergillus flavus/parasiticus were detected in the freshly processed samples only.