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The effects of competition from non-pathogenic foodborne bacteria during the selective enrichment of Listeria monocytogenes using buffered Listeria enrichment broth

Dailey, Rachel C., Martin, Keely G., Smiley, R. Derike
Food microbiology 2014 v.44 pp. 173-179
Citrobacter braakii, Listeria monocytogenes, bacteria, culture media, fluorescent antibody technique, food enrichment, foods, pathogens, quantitative polymerase chain reaction, screening, serotypes, spoilage microorganisms
The growth of Listeria monocytogenes during the pathogen specific enrichment of food samples can be limited by the presence of additional microorganisms that are resistant to the selective conditions being applied. If growth is severely limited and minimum post-enrichment threshold levels are not met then the presence of L. monocytogenes may go undetected. Several food products were screened for non-pathogenic commensal or spoilage microorganisms that are capable of growth under the conditions commonly used by regulatory testing laboratories to select for Listeria species. The effect of these potential competitor microorganisms on the ability to detect L. monocytogenes by several common molecular screening assays was then determined. Eight species of bacteria were isolated from foods that demonstrated the ability to grow in buffered Listeria enrichment broth under selective conditions. Growth of these competitor microorganisms during the enrichment incubation resulted in a decrease ranging from 1 to 4 logs in the 48 h population of L. monocytogenes. Three strains of L. monocytogenes representing serotypes 1/2a, 1/2b, and 4b were included in this study but no one serotype appeared to be most or least sensitive to the presence of competitor microorganisms. One additional strain of L. monocytogenes was identified as displaying minimal growth during the enrichment period in the presence of the Citrobacter braakii with the final population only reaching approximately 2.6 log CFU/ml after 48 h which was a 2 log increase over the initial population. This particular strain was subsequently shown to be difficult to detect following enrichment by an automated immunofluorescence assay and an antibody-based lateral flow device assay. In some enrichments, this strain was also difficult to detect by real-time PCR.