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J Appl Bacteriol. 1988 Jan;64(1):65-78.

Rapid selective enumeration of bacteria in foods using a microcolony epifluorescence microscopy technique.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology, AFRC Institute of Food Research, Reading Laboratory, Shinfield, UK.


The growth patterns of microcolonies of 59 different pure cultures were studied on eight selective solid media. A method of growing microcolonies on the surface of polycarbonate membrane filters, placed on the selective agar media, followed by staining and examination by epifluorescent microscopy was developed. The patterns of growth of the pure cultures as microcolonies were studied on the eight selective media. Only four media proved to be reliable for this purpose and the relationship between the microcolony count and plate count was studied on these media together with nutrient agar. Microcolony counts using three of these media (enriched lauryl sulphate aniline blue, pseudomonas selective agar (C-F-C) and Baird-Parker medium) were capable of giving reliable estimates of coliforms (r = 0.89), pseudomonads (r = 0.93) and staphylococci (r = 0.92) after incubation at 30 degrees C for 3 or 6 h (staphylococci) at contamination levels of above 10(3) bacteria/g in a variety of foods. The results are available within a working day and should allow the more efficient management of food supplies.

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