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Evaluation of Universal Preenrichment Broth for Growth of Heat-Injured Pathogens

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Universal preenrichment broth (UPB) was developed to enable enrichment of injured foodborne pathogens of different genera simultaneously in lieu of having to undergo separate simultaneous enrichment cultures for subsequent detection or isolation of each pathogen. Enrichment conditions in UPB for growth of injured pathogens to populations that will enable pathogen detection by rapid immuno-based or polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based assays have not been defined. Hence, studies were done to determine recovery and growth rates of heat-injured Escherichia coli O157:H7, Salmonella enterica ser. Typhimurium, Salmonella enterica ser. Enteritidis, and Listeria monocytogenes in UPB. Bacterial cells were heat injured in tryptic phosphate broth at 57.2°C and inoculated at populations of ca. 0.17 to 63 injured cells per ml with raw ground beef, fresh chicken, lettuce, and environmental sponge samples. Enrichment cultures were sampled at 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 24 h at 37°C postinoculation, and pathogens were enumerated on appropriate selective media. Results revealed that recovery and growth of pathogens during the first 6 h of enrichment were not sufficient to ensure adequate numbers of bacteria (> 103 CFU/ml) for detection by most immunoassays or PCR assays. Cells often required 3 to 4 h for recovery before growth was initiated. Salmonella Typhimurium, Salmonella Enteritidis, E. coli O157:H7, or L. monocytogenes cell populations in enrichment cultures with ground beef or lettuce at 6 h were 0.5 to 2.9 log10 CFU/ml. At 24 h of incubation, cell counts of enrichment samples for the three pathogens from all food and environmental sponge samples ranged from 4.0 to 8.3 log10 CFU/ml. Enrichment in UPB at 37°C of foods or environmental sponge samples containing heat-injured cells of Salmonella Typhimurium, Salmonella Enteritidis, E. coli O157:H7, or L. monocytogenes reliably provides at 24 h of incubation - but not at 6 h - sufficient cell populations for detection by rapid immunoassay or PCR assay procedures that can detect at least 4 log10 CFU/ml. These results raise questions regarding the sensitivity of rapid detection methods that employ an abbreviated enrichment protocol of 6 h or less.


Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Center for Food Safety, University of Georgia, 1109 Experiment Street, Griffin, Georgia 30223, USA

Publication date: 2001-11-01

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