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Comparison of methods for the microbiological identification and typing of Cronobacter species in infant formula

Lu, Y., Chen, Y., Lu, X.A., Lv, J., Man, C.X., Chai, Y.L., Jiang, Y.J.
Journal of dairy science 2014 v.97 no.2 pp. 632-641
Cronobacter, desorption, enterocolitis, food pathogens, infant formulas, infants, ionization, matrix-assisted laser desorption-ionization mass spectrometry, meningitis, phenotype, France
Cronobacter species represent an emerging opportunistic foodborne pathogen associated with meningitis and necrotizing enterocolitis in infants. Current evidence indicates that powdered infant formula (PIF) is the main source of Cronobacter contamination. A total of 75 strains of Cronobacter spp. from different geographic regions, as well as from PIF processing environments, were identified and typed with different methods, including biochemical profiling by the API 20E system (bioMérieux, Marcy l’Etoile, France), protein profiling by matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS), and genotypic profiling by ribotype. Analysis by MALDI-TOF MS and biochemical identification was more accurate compared with ribotype analysis. However, MALDI-TOF MS typing and ribotype analysis showed more discriminatory ability compared with biochemical phenotyping. In conclusion, MALDI-TOF MS is a rapid and reliable tool to identify Cronobacter spp. in PIF and has the potential to trace dissemination of Chronobacter along the production chain.