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Microbial ATP Bioluminescence as a Means to Detect Contamination on Artificially Contaminated Beef Carcass Tissue

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The use of microbial ATP bioluminescence was evaluated as a means to rapidly detect gross microbial contamination from feces on bovine-carcass surface tissue (BCT). Microbial ATP was selectively distinguished from nonmicrobial ATP by the assay procedure used. Regression analyses of microbial ATP and viable count scatterplots showed lean and adipose BCT artificially contaminated with bovine feces had the same regression line parameters (P < 0.05), and therefore, the microbial ATP responses were similar for both tissue types. Correlation coefficients (r) of these regression lines were >0.90 for both tissue types. Results indicated that swab samples can be held at 5°C for up to 6 h without compromising microbial ATP bioluminescence assay results. The microbial ATP bioluminescence assay shows potential for use as a means to rapidly detect fecal contamination on red meat carcasses and to gauge decontamination effectiveness and hence could monitor critical control points in a processing-plant HACCP plan.


Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: United States Meat Animal Research Center, United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Clay Center, Nebraska 68933 USA

Publication date: July 1, 1995

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