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Evaluation of Thin Agar Layer Method for Recovery of Acid-Injured Foodborne Pathogens †

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The thin agar layer (TAL) method of Kang and Fung was used to enumerate acid-injured foodborne pathogens. This method involves overlaying 14 ml of nonselective medium (tryptic soy agar [TSA]) onto a prepoured and solidified pathogenspecific, selective medium in a petri dish. After surface plating, injured cells resuscitated and grew on TSA during the first few hours of incubation; then, the selective agents from the selective medium diffused to the top layer, interacted with the recovered microorganisms, and started to produce typical reactions. Foodborne pathogens were exposed to 2% acetic acid for 1, 2, or 4 min, and the recovery rate with the TAL method was compared with the rate of TSA and pathogen-specific, selective media. No significant difference occurred between TSA and TAL (P > 0.05) for enumeration of acid-injured Escherichia coli O157:H7, Salmonella Typhimurium, Staphylococcus aureus, and Yersinia enterocolitica, and both recovered significantly higher numbers than the selective medium for each respective pathogen (P < 0.05). For recovery of acid-injured Listeria monocytogenes, no difference (P > 0.05) occurred among TSA, TAL, and selective media. However,fewer cells wererecovered in the selective media. The TAL method is a one-step, convenient procedure for recovery of acid-injured cells.


Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Animal Sciences and Industry, Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas 66506-1600, USA

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