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Spiral Plating Method To Quantify the Six Major Non-O157 Escherichia coli Serogroups in Cattle Feces
- Shridhar, Pragathi B., Noll, Lance W., Cull, Charley A., Shi, Xiaorong, Cernicchiaro, Natalia, Renter, David G., Bai, Jianfa, Nagaraja, T. G.
- Journal of food protection 2017 v.80 no.5 pp. 848-856
- Escherichia coli O157, Shiga toxin, cattle, feces, feedlots, genes, humans, intimin, quantitative polymerase chain reaction, serotypes
- Cattle are a major reservoir of the six major Shiga toxin–producing non-O157 Escherichia coli (STEC) serogroups (O26, O45, O103, O111, O121, and O145) responsible for foodborne illnesses in humans. Besides prevalence in feces, the concentrations of STEC in cattle feces play a major role in their transmission dynamics. A subset of cattle, referred to as super shedders, shed E. coli O157 at high concentrations (≥4 log CFU/g of feces). It is not known whether a similar pattern of fecal shedding exists for non-O157. Our objectives were to initially validate the spiral plating method to quantify the six non-O157 E. coli serogroups with pure cultures and culture-spiked fecal samples and then determine the applicability of the method and compare it with multiplex quantitative PCR (mqPCR) assays for the quantification of the six non-O157 E. coli serogroups in cattle fecal samples collected from commercial feedlots. Quantification limits of the spiral plating method were 3 log, 3 to 4 log, and 3 to 5 log CFU/mL or CFU/g for individual cultures, pooled pure cultures, and cattle fecal samples spiked with pooled pure cultures, respectively. Of the 1,152 cattle fecal samples tested from eight commercial feedlots, 122 (10.6%) and 320 (27.8%) harbored concentrations ≥4 log CFU/g of one or more of the six serogroups of non-O157 by spiral plating and mqPCR methods, respectively. A majority of quantifiable samples, detected by either spiral plating (135 of 137, 98.5%) or mqPCR (239 of 320, 74.7%), were shedding only one serogroup. Only one of the quantifiable samples was positive for a serogroup carrying Shiga toxin (stx1) and intimin (eae) genes; 38 samples were positive for serogroups carrying the intimin gene. In conclusion, the spiral plating method can be used to quantify non-O157 serogroups in cattle feces, and our study identified a subset of cattle that was super shedders of non-O157 E. coli. The method has the advantage of quantifying non-O157 STEC, unlike mqPCR that quantifies serogroups only.