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Effect of Direct Culture Versus Selective Enrichment on the Isolation of Thermophilic Campylobacter from Feces of Mature Cattle at Harvest

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Campylobacter jejuni and Campylobacter coli are leading bacterial causes of human gastroenteritis in the United States and other industrialized nations. These organisms frequently colonize avian hosts, including commercial poultry, but are also found in the gastrointestinal tract of other warm-blooded animals, including swine, sheep, and cattle. This study investigated the effect of direct culture versus selective enrichment on the isolation of thermophilic Campylobacter from the colon of 610 cattle. Fecal samples were taken from the colon of mature cattle (older than 30 months of age) immediately after slaughter in a commercial abattoir over a period of 17 months. Campylobacter was isolated from 23.4% of the animals. Most (93%) of the culture-confirmed Campylobacter isolates were C. jejuni, with the remaining 7% being C. coli. Additionally, of the 143 samples from which pure cultures of Campylobacter could be isolated, 72 (50.3%) were positive only with selective enrichment, 18 (12.6%) were positive only with direct plating, and 53 (37.1%) were positive by both methods. The data suggest that, even though selective enrichment was more effective than direct plating, both direct plating and selective enrichment protocols might need to be employed for optimal surveillance of C. jejuni in fecal material from cattle.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Food Science, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina 27695-7624, USA

Publication date: May 1, 2006

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    First published in 1937, the Journal of Food Protection®, is a refereed monthly publication. Each issue contains scientific research and authoritative review articles reporting on a variety of topics in food science pertaining to food safety and quality. The Journal is internationally recognized as the leading publication in the field of food microbiology with a readership exceeding 11,000 scientists from 70 countries. The Journal of Food Protection® is indexed in Index Medicus, Current Contents, BIOSIS, PubMed, Medline, and many others.

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