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Evaluation of an Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay, Direct Immunofluorescent Filter Technique, and Multiplex Polymerase Chain Reaction for Detection of Escherichia coli O157:H7 Seeded in Beef Carcass Wash Water

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In commercial beef processing, carcasses are customarily washed with water to remove physical and microbial contamination. Assaying the water that is shed from the carcasses after washing is a convenient method to determine whether the carcass is contaminated with Escherichia coli O157:H7 or other bacterial pathogens. E. coli O157:H7 was inoculated into carcass wash water at various levels and the bacteria were then concentrated by filtration. After collection of bacteria in the filter units, the nylon membranes were cut out and placed in tubes containing growth medium, and the tubes were mixed vigorously to dislodge the bacteria from the membranes. Prior to enrichment, samples were removed for testing by a multiplex polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and a direct immunofluorescent filter technique (DIFT). The remaining samples were subjected to 4-h enrichment culturing at 37°C, after which aliquots were removed for testing by multiplex PCR, DIFT, and an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Following 4-h enrichment culturing, E. coli O157:H7 was detected in wash water samples initially inoculated with ca. 100, 0.1, and 1 CFU/ml by ELISA, DIFT, and multiplex PCR, respectively. Testing of the wash water using the ELISA and the DIFT can be accomplished in less than 8 h. On the basis of these results, assaying carcass wash water by ELISA, DIFT, or multiplex PCR can be useful for detection of E. coli O157:H7 beef carcass contamination and can potentially be employed to identify carcasses for further processing to inactivate the organism.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Microbial Food Safety Research Unit, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Eastern Regional Research Center, Agricultural Research Service, 600 East Mermaid Lane, Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania 19038, USA

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