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Comparison of Methods for Determining the Presence of Escherichia coli O157:H7 in Apple Juice

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Six methods were compared for detection of three strains of Escherichia coli O157:H7 in enrichments of inoculated apple juice. Juice was inoculated at levels varying from 0.1 to 100 CFU/ml and centrifuged after overnight storage at 4°C, and pellets were incubated at 37°C in nonselective enrichment broth. At hourly intervals between 5 and 10 h and at 24 h, the enrichments were tested for E. coli O157:H7 by direct fluorescent antibody (DFA), antibody-direct epifluorescent filter technique (Ab-DEFT), direct selective plating on sorbitol MacConkey agar (SMA), immunomagnetic separation coupled to either selective plating (IMS-SMA) or the polymerase chain reaction (IMS-PCR), and flow cytometry (FC). The most consistent detection of 0.1 CFU/ml of the slowest growing strain of the pathogen was provided by the IMS-SMA and IMS-PCR after 8 h of enrichment. The time required for detection at the level of 0.1 CFU/ml for each assay was Ab-DEFT, 11 h; IMS-PCR, 16 h; FC, 24 h; IMS-SMA, 32 h; and SMA, 48 h. Absolute detection limits (without enrichment) were: IMS-PCR, 103 CFU/ml; Ab-DEFT and IMS-SMA, 104 CFU/ml; SMA, 105 CFU/ml; and DFA, 106 CFU/ml. Recovery of the pathogen (10 CFU/ml) in apple juice after 28 days of 4°C storage was possible by means of an 8-h enrichment and Ab-DEFT, IMS-PCR, or IMS-SMA.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: U.S. Food and Drug Administration, National Center for Food Safety and Technology, Summit-Argo, Illinois 60501, USA 2: Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, Laurel, Maryland 20708, USA

Publication date: November 1, 1998

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