Microbial Quality of Hoummos (Chickpea Dip) Commercially Produced in Jordan

J Food Prot. 1994 May;57(5):431-435. doi: 10.4315/0362-028X-57.5.431.


Sixty samples of fresh hoummos (chickpea dip) from 15 restaurants were examined in winter and summer to find out numbers and types of microorganisms present. Five reference samples, produced by the investigators under hygienic conditions, were examined for comparison. The microbial load of commercial hoummos was high, and spherical lactic acid bacteria (LAB) belonging to Lactococcus , Enterococcus and Leuconostoc were the predominant microorganisms. The means of the aerobic plate count (APC) and the counts of LAB and coliforms (1.9 × 108, 1.6 × 108 and 2.9 × 105/g, respectively) in summer samples were significantly higher (p < 0.05) than the averages of the same counts in winter samples (2.7 × 107, 1.6 × 107 and 2.2 × 103/g). The average summer and winter yeast counts were 4.2 × 104 and 1.5 × 104g, respectively. In reference samples of hoummos, APC and LAB counts were < 103/g, while the coliform and yeast counts were < 10/g and 102/g, respectively, indicating lack of hygienic practices during the production of commercial hoummos. Salmonella was not detected in any sample, and Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus counts of all samples were < 10/g. The relatively low pH of hoummos (the average pH of all samples was 5.1) and the rapid growth of LAB, possibly accompanied by production of inhibitory substances, may explain the predominance of these bacteria, and could have contributed to the absence of the pathogens examined.

Keywords: Hoummos; chickpeas; spherical lactic acid bacteria.