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Rapid Separation and Counting of Viable Microbial Cells in Food by Nonculture Method with Bioplorer, a Focusing-Free Microscopic Apparatus with a Novel Cell Separation Unit

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A nonculture method utilizing a novel apparatus, the bioplorer, was developed. The bioplorer is composed of an efficient cell separation unit, a focusing-free microscopic device, and an image analysis program. A meat or vegetable suspension is poured into the cell separation funnel, and insoluble matter in the sample suspension is trapped by prefilters. Microbial cells passing through the two prefilters are then trapped by the membrane filter (pore size, 0.4 μm). Trapped cells are double-stained with 4′,6′-diamidino-2-phenylindole and propidium iodide, and the membrane filter is removed and set on the focusing-free microscope. A fluorescent image is then recorded. Total numbers of viable and dead cells on the membrane filter can thus be determined automatically. One assay can be performed within 10 min, which is much faster than the culture method. The results obtained with both the nonculture method and the culture method for meat and vegetable samples were highly correlated (r = 0.953 to 0.998). This method is feasible for the practical purpose of food safety control.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Biosensing Business Project, Matsushita Ecology Systems Co., Ltd., 4017 Shimonakata, Takaki-Cho, Kasugai, Aichi 486-8522, Japan 2: Department of Biotechnology and Life Science, Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology, Koganei, Tokyo 184-8588, Japan; CREST, Japan Science and Technology Agency, Honcho 4-1-8, Kawaguchi, Saitama 332-0012, Japan

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