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Lett Appl Microbiol. 2004;38(5):378-82.

The growth profile, thermotolerance and biofilm formation of Enterobacter sakazakii grown in infant formula milk.

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1
School of Science, The Nottingham Trent University, Clifton Lane, Nottingham, UK.

Abstract

AIMS:

To study the growth, thermotolerance and biofilm formation of the emergent pathogen Enterobacter sakazakii in infant formula milk (IFM).

METHODS AND RESULTS:

The temperature range, death kinetics and biofilm formation of E. sakazakii were determined using impedance microbiology and conventional methods. In IFM the organism grew as low as 6 degrees C and optimally at 37-43 degrees C. In faecal coliform tests, 23% of strains (n = 70) produced gas from lauryl sulphate broth (LSB) at 44 degrees C after 48 h incubation. Three strains failed to grow in LSB at any of the temperatures. The D-value of cells suspended in IFM was determined between 54 and 62 degrees C. The resultant z-value was 5.7 degrees C. The organism was able to adhere and grow on latex, polycarbonate, silicon and to a lesser extent stainless steel.

CONCLUSIONS:

Enterobacter sakazakii was able to grow at refrigeration temperatures and on infant-feeding equipment. The thermotolerance of the organism was similar to other Enterobacteriaceae and should be killed during standard pasteurization treatment.

SIGNIFICANCE AND IMPACT OF THE STUDY:

Enterobacter sakazakii has been associated with infant meningitis through consumption of contaminated IFM. Enterobacter sakazakii is able to grow in IFM during storage at refrigeration temperatures and attach to infant-feeding equipment, which may become reservoirs of infection.

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