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J Food Prot. 2013 Jul;76(7):1129-36. doi: 10.4315/0362-028X.JFP-12-497.

Detection by hyperspectral imaging of shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli serogroups O26, O45, O103, O111, O121, and O145 on rainbow agar.

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Quality and Safety Assessment Research Unit, Richard B. Russell Research Center, Agricultural Research Service, Athens, Georgia 30605, USA.


The U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food Safety Inspection Service has determined that six non-O157 Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) serogroups (O26, O45, O103, O111, O121, and O145) are adulterants in raw beef. Isolate and phenotypic discrimination of non-O157 STEC is problematic due to the lack of suitable agar media. The lack of distinct phenotypic color variation among non-O157serogroups cultured on chromogenic agar poses a challenge in selecting colonies for confirmation. In this study, visible and near-infrared hyperspectral imaging and chemometrics were used to detect and classify non-O157 STEC serogroups grown on Rainbow agar O157. The method was first developed by building spectral libraries for each serogroup obtained from ground-truth regions of interest representing the true identity of each pixel and thus each pure culture colony in the hyperspectral agar-plate image. The spectral library for the pure-culture non-O157 STEC consisted of 2,171 colonies, with spectra derived from 124,347 of pixels. The classification models for each serogroup were developed with a k nearest-neighbor classifier. The overall classification training accuracy at the colony level was 99%. The classifier was validated with ground beef enrichments artificially inoculated with 10, 50, and 100 CFU/ml STEC. The validation ground-truth regions of interest of the STEC target colonies consisted of 606 colonies, with 3,030 pixels of spectra. The overall classification accuracy was 98%. The average specificity of the method was 98% due to the low false-positive rate of 1.2%. The sensitivity ranged from 78 to 100% due to the false-negative rates of 22, 7, and 8% for O145, O45, and O26, respectively. This study showed the potential of visible and near-infrared hyperspectral imaging for detecting and classifying colonies of the six non-O157 STEC serogroups. The technique needs to be validated with bacterial cultures directly extracted from meat products and positive identification of colonies by using confirmatory tests such as latex agglutination tests or PCR.

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