Growth and survival of foodborne pathogens in beer

J Food Prot. 2011 Oct;74(10):1670-5. doi: 10.4315/0362-028X.JFP-10-546.


This work aimed to assess the growth and survival of four foodborne pathogens (Escherichia coli O157:H7, Salmonella Typhimurium, Listeria monocytogenes, and Staphylococcus aureus) in beer. The effects of ethanol, pH, and storage temperature were investigated for the gram-negative pathogens (E. coli O157:H7 and Salmonella Typhimurium), whereas the presence of hops ensured that the gram-positive pathogens (L. monocytogenes and S. aureus) were rapidly inactivated in alcohol-free beer. The pathogens E. coli O157:H7 and Salmonella Typhimurium could not grow in the mid-strength or full-strength beers, although they could survive for more than 30 days in the mid-strength beer when held at 4°C. These pathogens grew rapidly in the alcohol-free beer; however, growth was prevented when the pH of the alcohol-free beer was lowered from the "as received" value of 4.3 to 4.0. Pathogen survival in all beers was prolonged at lowered storage temperatures.

MeSH terms

  • Beer / microbiology*
  • Colony Count, Microbial
  • Consumer Product Safety
  • Escherichia coli O157 / growth & development
  • Ethanol / pharmacology*
  • Food Contamination / analysis*
  • Food Microbiology
  • Food Preservation / methods*
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Listeria monocytogenes / growth & development
  • Salmonella typhimurium / growth & development
  • Staphylococcus aureus / growth & development
  • Temperature
  • Time Factors


  • Ethanol