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J Appl Microbiol. 2007 Nov;103(5):1657-68.

Enumeration of Salmonella and Escherichia coli O157:H7 in ground beef, cattle carcass, hide and faecal samples using direct plating methods.

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U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Roman L. Hruska U.S. Meat Animal Research Center, Clay Center, NE 68933-0166, USA.



To develop and validate high throughput methods for the direct enumeration of viable and culturable Salmonella and Escherichia coli O157:H7 in ground beef, carcass, hide and faecal (GCHF) samples from cattle.


The hydrophobic grid membrane filtration (HGMF) method and the spiral plate count method (SPCM) were evaluated as rapid tools for the estimation of pathogen load using GCHF samples spiked with known levels of Salmonella serotype Typhimurium. Validation studies showed that for a single determination of each sample type the low end of the detection limits were approx. 2.0 x 10(0) CFU g(-1) for ground beef, 5.0 x 10(-1) CFU (100 cm(2))(-1) for Salmonella and 8.0 x 10(-1) CFU (100 cm(2))(-1) for E. coli O157:H7 on carcasses, 4.0 x 10(1) CFU (100 cm(2))(-1) for hide and 2.0 x 10(2) CFU g(-1) for faecal samples. In addition, ground beef (n = 609), carcass (n = 1520) and hide (n = 3038) samples were collected from beef-processing plants and faecal samples (n = 3190) were collected from feed-lot cattle, and these samples were tested for the presence of Salmonella and E. coli O157:H7 by enrichment and enumeration methods.


The direct enumeration methods described here are amenable to high throughput sample processing and were found to be cost-effective alternatives to other enumeration methods for the estimation of Salmonella and E. coli O157:H7, in samples collected during cattle production and beef processing.


Use of the methods described here would allow for more routine testing and quantification data collection, providing useful information about the effectiveness of beef processing intervention strategies.

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