Forty samples of four date palm fruit varieties (Rezizi, khlas, Sukri and Sefri) collected from date factories located in Riyadh and Al hasa regions in Saudi Arabia were examined for their total microbial load (Mesophilic aerobic count, Yeasts and Molds count, Spore-formers bacteria and Osmophilic yeast count). The effects of different storage temperatures (26, 4 and -19ºC) for six months on their microbial population were also examined. The results showed that the microbial load of the date palm fruit was mixture of bacteria, yeasts and molds. The microbial load of Khlas variety was higher than the other varieties, whereas, the Sukri variety had the lowest.The aerobic mesphilic bacteria of samples stored at -19˚C for 6 months decreased significantly (p < 0.05) while those stored at 4˚C were slightly decreased, however, those stored at 26˚C showed insignificant reduction. Theyeasts and molds, spore- formers bacteria and osmophilic yeast counts were significantly decreased at -19˚C storage compared to those stored at 26 and 4˚C.
Key words: Microbial load, storage temperature, dates palm fruit varieties.
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