In growth experiments 75 clinical isolates of Escherichia coli O157:H7 were studied for the variability in seven growth characteristics: minimum, optimum and maximum growth temperature, minimum and optimum pH, minimum water activity and optimum specific growth rate. With these characteristics, growth can be predicted for any given set of conditions (temperature, acidity and water activity), when the “gamma model” is used as predictive microbiology model. The optimum specific growth rate of the 75 strains, as conceptually defined by the model, had a mean value of 4.71 (ln[emsp4 ](count)/h), with a standard deviation of 0.39. It could not be shown that the mean optimum specific growth rate differs significantly per strain, so the variability found will predominantly be the result of other sources of variation. In contrast, the experimental results suggest that the differences in minimum temperature of growth may be partially strain specific. As variability in growth is crucial for quantitative risk assessment, the results were implemented in the gamma model. Predictions at three sets of growth conditions were compared with predictions of the Pathogen Modeling Program (PMP) (USDA) and some published experimental results. This comparison showed that growth rates higher than those published and outside the 95% confidence interval predicted by the PMP are feasible. Although it needs further development and additional tests, our approach offers a promising strategy to predict the variability in growth.
Quantitative Microbiology – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 19, 2004
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