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Int J Food Microbiol. 2004 Nov 1;96(2):133-9.

A selective differential medium for Enterobacter sakazakii, a preliminary study.

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School of Science, The Nottingham Trent University, Clifton Lane, Nottingham, NG11 8NS, UK.


Enterobacter sakazakii can cause fatal invasive infection of neonates associated with the presence of this organism in powdered infant milk formula. A new chromogenic medium (Druggan-Forsythe-Iversen agar, DFI) is described for the selective detection of this emergent pathogen. The medium is based on the alpha-glucosidase reaction which is detected using 5-bromo-4-chloro-3-indolyl-alpha,D-glucopyranoside (XalphaGlc). Ent. sakazakii hydrolyses this substrate to an indigo pigment, producing blue-green colonies on this medium. DFI was compared with the current method of detection on violet red bile glucose agar (VRBGA) followed by pigment production on tryptone soy agar (TSA) after 48-72 h at 25 degrees C and subsequent biochemical profile determination using Biomerieux API20E. Ninety-five clinical and food strains of Ent. sakazakii were detected on the DFI chromogenic medium 2 days sooner than the alternative method. The characteristics of 148 strains representing 17 genera of non-Ent. sakazakii Enterobacteriaceae were compared using the two methods. Only 16/18 Escherichia vulneris strains, 2/3 strains of Pantoea spp. and 1/8 Citrobacter koseri strains gave false positive results on DFI agar. Eight alpha-glucosidase positive strains were identified as Pantoea using their API20E biochemical profile, but had higher percentage identification as Ent. sakazakii using ID32E. Therefore the DFI medium enables the detection of Ent. sakazakii within mixed cultures of Enterobacteriaceae, whereas the organism could be missed when using VRBGA since the latter is a general Enterobacteriaceae selective medium. In addition, the common use of API20E to check yellow pigmented colonies on TSA may lead to false negative results and consequently the acceptance of a batch of infant formula milk (IFM) that contains Ent. sakazakii.

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