The correlation method for rapid monitoring of Escherichia coli in foods

P. M. Gray, M. S. Rhee, D. H. Kang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Aims: A new rapid method was developed to rapidly monitor Escherichia coli counts in foods. Materials and Results: One ml of modified selective broth with 4-methylumbelliferyl β-D-glucuronide and 1 ml of food sample were mixed in a sterile test tube and incubated at 37°C. The positive reaction (fluorescence under u.v. light) was monitored at regular 30 min intervals. The positive reaction times in test tubes were compared with actual E. coli numbers from tested samples. The growth of E. coli in test tubes (broth) was much faster than growth on agar. The first experiment was performed to evaluate the rapid correlation method using pure E. coli cultures. The correlation between E. coli counts by the conventional plating method and positive reaction (fluorescence production) times in test tubes was highly agreeable (r2 = 0.95).) In the case of low E. coli numbers, such as 2.0 log10 cfu ml-1, the rapid correlation method detected their presence after 10 h incubation. When highly contaminated samples were assayed ) (8 log10 cfu ml-1), the rapid correlation method detected the presence of E. coli after 4 h incubation. In the ground beef experiment, the correlation between fluorescence production time and actual E. coli numbers was also strongly agreeable (r2 = 0.92). Conclusions: From these results, it is obvious that the new rapid method can rapidly monitor E. coli counts in foods. Significance and Impact of the Study: The results indicated that the new method saved about 10-14 h incubation time compared to conventional plating methods. The rapid correlation method required much shorter incubation times compared to conventional plating methods for monitoring E. coli.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)269-273
Number of pages5
JournalLetters in Applied Microbiology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology


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