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Int J Food Microbiol. 2000 Apr 10;55(1-3):285-90.

Modifications to methods for the enumeration and detection of injured Escherichia coli O157:H7 in foods.

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  • 1Microbiology Unit, Unilever Research Colworth, Sharnbrook, Bedfordshire, UK. clive.blackburn@unilever.com


Reliable methods are required for the detection and enumeration of potentially injured E. coli O157 in food in the presence of outnumbering competing bacteria. Selective agents can prevent or inhibit the recovery and subsequent multiplication of injured cells and direct inoculation, either into selective enrichment broths or onto selective agar plates is still used in many methods for E. coli O157 detection and enumeration. When compared with tryptone soya agar (TSA), sorbitol MacConkey agar (SMAC) was shown to underestimate the concentration of viable E. coli O157:H7 subjected to low pH and high NaCl concentration. Using a resuscitation stage on TSA followed by membrane transfer to SMAC improved recovery to levels obtained on TSA. The membrane method was used to monitor the numbers of artificially contaminated E. coli O157:H7 during the fermentation of a meat product and demonstrated better survival when compared to counts on SMAC. Six rapid methods for the detection of E. coli O157 in food (BAX E. coli O157, Reveal 8 E. coli O157-H7 screening test, VIP EHEC, VIDAS E. coli O157 (ECO), EHEC-Tek and Tecra E. coli O157 visual immunoassay), were evaluated using beetburgers, parsley and fermented meat artificially contaminated with injured cells. Methods using direct selective enrichment, with or without an elevated incubation temperature gave false-negative results. The incorporation of a non-selective pre-enrichment medium improved the detection rates of these assays by up to ten fold.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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