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Comparison of the SimPlate Coliform and Escherichia coli Test with Petrifilm, Three-Tube MPN, and VRSA + MUG Methods for Enumerating Coliforms and E. coli in Food

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SimPlate for coliforms and Escherichia coli (CEc) is a new method for the detection and quantification of coliforms and E. coli in food. Internal validation of the method was carried out at IDEXX Laboratories (Westbrook, ME) with 180 food samples representing a variety of different food matrices and compared against three-tube MPN (most probable number), VRBA (violet red bile agar) + MUG, and Petrifilm (E. coli count) methods. SimPlate CEc was highly correlated with each of these methods for the quantification of coliform bacteria (r ≥ 0.90). An insignificant number of food samples were found to contain E. coli; therefore, no meaningful correlation data could be generated. Four hundred forty-four additional food samples were tested at five collaborating laboratories for the presence of coliforms and E. coli using SimPlate CEc and either VRBA + MUG or Petrifilm (E. coli count). Regression analysis of data from SimPlate for CEc versus Petrifilm E. coli count plates generated correlation coefficients (r) of at least 0.89 for total coliforms and at least 0.90 for generic E. coli. Correlation coefficients between SimPlate for CEc and VRBA + MUG data were at least 0.90 for coliforms and at least 0.86 for E. coli. SimPlate for CEc demonstrated better recovery of E. coli than Petrifilm when high populations of bacteria were present. E. coli was not detected in 20 of 50 (40%) raw milk samples tested by the Petrifilm method due to the presence of interfering coliform and noncoliform bacteria. It is concluded that SimPlate for CEc is a suitable alternative for determining numbers of coliform bacteria and E. coli in food.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: IDEXX Laboratories, Inc., One IDEXX Drive, Westbrook, ME 04092-2041, USA

Publication date: April 1, 1998

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