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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

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J Food Prot 2013 Nov;76(11):1854-62

Postenrichment Population Differentials Using Buffered Listeria Enrichment Broth: Implications of the Presence of Listeria innocua on Listeria monocytogenes in Food Test Samples.

Keys AL, Dailey RC, Hitchins AD, Smiley RD


The recovery of low levels of Listeria monocytogenes from foods is complicated by the presence of competing microorganisms. Nonpathogenic species of Listeria pose a particular problem because variation in growth rate during the enrichment step can produce more colonies of these nontarget cells on selective and/or differential media, resulting in a preferential recovery of nonpathogens, especially Listeria innocua. To gauge the extent of this statistical barrier to pathogen recovery, 10 isolates each of L. monocytogenes and L. innocua were propagated together from approximately equal initial levels using the current U. S. Food and Drug Administration's enrichment procedure. In the 100 isolate pairs, an average 1.3-log decrease was found in the 48-h enrichment L. monocytogenes population when L. innocua was present. In 98 of the 100 isolate pairs, L. innocua reached higher levels at 48 h than did L. monocytogenes, with a difference of 0.2 to 2.4 log CFU/ml. The significance of these population differences was apparent by an increase in the difficulty of isolating L. monocytogenes by the streak plating method. L. monocytogenes went completely undetected in 18 of 30 enrichment cultures even after colony isolation was attempted on Oxoid chromogenic Listeria agar. This finding suggests that although both Listeria species were present on the plate, the population differential between them restricted L. monocytogenes to areas of the plate with confluent growth and that isolated individual colonies were only L. innocua.

Category: Journal Article
PubMed ID: #24215687 DOI: 10.4315/0362-028X.JFP-13-089
Includes FDA Authors from Scientific Area(s): Regulatory Affairs Food
Entry Created: 2013-11-13 Entry Last Modified: 2013-12-15