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Concept: XLD agar


ABSTRACT We investigated the application capabilities of a laser optical sensor, BARDOT (bacterial rapid detection using optical scatter technology) to generate differentiating scatter patterns for the 20 most frequently reported serovars of Salmonella enterica. Initially, the study tested the classification ability of BARDOT by using six Salmonella serovars grown on brain heart infusion, brilliant green, xylose lysine deoxycholate, and xylose lysine tergitol 4 (XLT4) agar plates. Highly accurate discrimination (95.9%) was obtained by using scatter signatures collected from colonies grown on XLT4. Further verification used a total of 36 serovars (the top 20 plus 16) comprising 123 strains with classification precision levels of 88 to 100%. The similarities between the optical phenotypes of strains analyzed by BARDOT were in general agreement with the genotypes analyzed by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE). BARDOT was evaluated for the real-time detection and identification of Salmonella colonies grown from inoculated (1.2 × 10(2) CFU/30 g) peanut butter, chicken breast, and spinach or from naturally contaminated meat. After a sequential enrichment in buffered peptone water and modified Rappaport Vassiliadis broth for 4 h each, followed by growth on XLT4 (~16 h), BARDOT detected S. Typhimurium with 84% accuracy in 24 h, returning results comparable to those of the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service method, which requires ~72 h. BARDOT also detected Salmonella (90 to 100% accuracy) in the presence of background microbiota from naturally contaminated meat, verified by 16S rRNA sequencing and PFGE. Prolonged residence (28 days) of Salmonella in peanut butter did not affect the bacterial ability to form colonies with consistent optical phenotypes. This study shows BARDOT’s potential for nondestructive and high-throughput detection of Salmonella in food samples. IMPORTANCE High-throughput screening of food products for pathogens would have a significant impact on the reduction of food-borne hazards. A laser optical sensor was developed to screen pathogen colonies on an agar plate instantly without damaging the colonies; this method aids in early pathogen detection by the classical microbiological culture-based method. Here we demonstrate that this sensor was able to detect the 36 Salmonella serovars tested, including the top 20 serovars, and to identify isolates of the top 8 Salmonella serovars. Furthermore, it can detect Salmonella in food samples in the presence of background microbiota in 24 h, whereas the standard USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service method requires about 72 h.

Concepts: Bacteria, Microbiology, Food, Pathogen, Salmonella enterica, Agar plate, XLD agar, Growth medium


Microbiologists have been using agar growth medium for over 120 years. It revolutionized microbiology in the 1890’s when microbiologists were seeking effective methods to isolate microorganisms, which led to the successful cultivation of microorganisms as single clones. But there has been a disparity between total cell counts and cultivable cell counts on plates, often referred to as the “great plate count anomaly”, that has long been a phenomenon that still remains unsolved. Here we report that a common practice microbiologists have been employing to prepare agar medium has a hidden pitfall: when phosphate was autoclaved together with agar to prepare solid growth media (PT medium), total colony counts were remarkably lower when compared with those grown on agar plates in which phosphate and agar were separately autoclaved and mixed right before solidification (PS medium). We used a pure culture Gemmatimonas aurantiaca T-27(T) and three representative sources of environmental samples, soil, sediment and water, as inocula and compared colony counts between PT and PS agar plates. There were higher numbers of colony forming units (CFUs) on PS medium compared to PT medium using G. aurantiaca or any of the environmental samples. Chemical analysis of PT agar plates suggested that hydrogen peroxide was contributing to growth inhibition. Comparison of 454 pyrosequences of the environmental samples to the isolates revealed that taxa grown on PS medium were more reflective of the original community structure than those grown on PT medium. Moreover, more hitherto-uncultivated microbes grew on PS than on PT medium.

Concepts: Bacteria, Metabolism, Microbiology, Agar, Agar plate, XLD agar, Growth medium, Petri dish


Different studies have reported the prevalence of Salmonella in turtles and its role in reptile-associated salmonellosis in humans, but there is a lack of scientific literature related with the epidemiology of Campylobacter in turtles. The aim of this study was to evaluate the prevalence of Campylobacter and Salmonella in free-living native (Emys orbicularis, n=83) and exotic (Trachemysscripta elegans, n=117) turtles from 11 natural ponds in Eastern Spain. In addition, different types of samples (cloacal swabs, intestinal content and water from Turtle containers) were compared. Regardless of the turtle species, natural ponds where individuals were captured and the type of sample taken, Campylobacter was not detected. Salmonella was isolated in similar proportions in native (8.0±3.1%) and exotic (15.0±3.3%) turtles (p=0.189). The prevalence of Salmonella positive turtles was associated with the natural ponds where animals were captured. Captured turtles from 8 of the 11 natural ponds were positive, ranged between 3.0±3.1% and 60.0±11.0%. Serotyping revealed 8 different serovars among four Salmonella enterica subspecies: S. enterica subsp. enterica (n = 21), S. enterica subsp. salamae (n = 2), S. enterica subsp. diarizonae (n = 3), and S. enterica subsp. houtenae (n = 1). Two serovars were predominant: S. Thompson (n=16) and S. typhimurium (n=3). In addition, there was an effect of sample type on Salmonella detection. The highest isolation of Salmonella was obtained from intestinal content samples (12.0±3.0%), while lower percentages were found for water from the containers and cloacal swabs (8.0±2.5% and 3.0±1.5%, respectively). Our results imply that free-living turtles are a risk factor for Salmonella transmission, but do not seem to be a reservoir for Campylobacter. We therefore rule out turtles as a risk factor for human campylobacteriosis. Nevertheless, further studies should be undertaken in other countries to confirm these results.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Microbiology, Species, Turtle, Salmonella enterica, Salmonella, XLD agar, 1984 Rajneeshee bioterror attack


Granulomatous mastitis due toCorynebacterium kroppenstedtiiis an increasingly recognised cause of an indolent and distressing mastitis in non-lactating females. This slow-growing lipophilic organism is not reliably isolated using routine culture methods. A novel selective culture medium (CKSM) is designed to optimise the isolation of this organism from clinical specimens.

Concepts: Bacteria, Yeast, Cell culture, XLD agar, Growth medium


The genus Salmonella has more than 2,600 serovars, and this trait is important when considering interventions for Salmonella control. Bacteriophages that are used for biocontrol must have an exclusively lytic cycle and the ability to lyse several Salmonella serovars under a wide range of environmental conditions. Salmonella phages were isolated and characterized from 34 backyard production systems (BPSs) with a history of Salmonella infections. BPSs were visited once, and cloacal or fecal samples were processed for phage isolation. Four hosts, Salmonella serovars Enteritidis, Heidelberg, Infantis, and Typhimurium, were used for phage isolation. The host range of the phages was later characterized with a panel of 23 Salmonella serovars (serovar diversity set) and 31 isolates obtained from the same farms (native set). Genetic relatedness for 10 phages with a wide host range was characterized by restriction fragment length polymorphism, and phages clustered based on the host range. We purified 63 phages, and 36 phage isolates were obtained on Salmonella Enteritidis, 16 on Salmonella Heidelberg, and 11 on Salmonella Infantis. Phages were classified in three clusters: (i) phages with a wide host range (cluster I), (ii) phages that lysed the most susceptible Salmonella serovars (serogroup D) and other isolates (cluster II), and (iii) phages that lysed only isolates of serogroup D (cluster III). The most susceptible Salmonella serovars were Enteritidis, Javiana, and Dublin. Seven of 34 farms yielded phages with a wide host range, and these phages had low levels of genetic relatedness. Our study showed an adaptation of the phages in the sampled BPSs to serogroup D Salmonella isolates and indicated that isolation of Salmonella phages with wide host range differs by farm. A better understanding of the factors driving the Salmonella phage host range could be useful when designing risk-based sampling strategies to obtain phages with a wide lytic host range for biocontrol purposes.

Concepts: Microbiology, Bacteriophages, Salmonella enterica, Salmonella, Cholera, XLD agar, Lysis, Lysogenic cycle


Salmonella spp. is a major food-borne pathogen around the world. The ability of Salmonella to produce biofilm is one of the main obstacles in reducing the prevalence of these bacteria in the food chain. Most of Salmonella biofilm studies found in the literature used laboratory growth media. However, in the food chain, food residues are the principal source of nutrients of Salmonella. In this study, the biofilm formation, morphotype, and motility of 13 Salmonella strains belonging to three different subspecies and isolated from poultry houses was evaluated. To simulate food chain conditions, four different growth media (Tryptic Soy Broth at 1/20 dilution, milk at 1/20 dilution, tomato juice, and chicken meat juice), two different surfaces (stainless steel and polystyrene) and two temperatures (6 °C and 22 °C) were used to evaluate the biofilm formation. The morphotype, motility, and biofilm formation of Salmonella was temperature-dependent. Biofilm formation was significantly higher with 1/20 Tryptic Soy Broth in all the surfaces and temperatures tested, in comparison with the other growth media. The laboratory growth medium 1/20 Tryptic Soy Broth enhanced biofilm formation in Salmonella. This could explain the great differences in biofilm formation found between this growth medium and food residues. However, Salmonella strains were able to produce biofilm on the presence of food residues in all the conditions tested. Therefore, the Salmonella strain can use food residues to produce biofilm on common surfaces of the food chain. More studies combining more strains and food residues are necessary to fully understand the mechanism used by Salmonella to produce biofilm on the presence of these sources of nutrients.

Concepts: Bacteria, Microbiology, Meat, Steel, Salmonella enterica, Salmonella, Stainless steel, XLD agar


This study was conducted to estimate the apparent prevalence of Salmonella spp. in birds kept under backyard system in Entre Ríos, Argentina, and determine the performance of two selective plating media used for Salmonella isolation, and the antimicrobial resistance of the isolated. Also, the association of farms characteristics with Salmonella presence was evaluated. A total of 657 backyard chickens and 15 gooses were sampled one time by cloacal swab, belonging to 51 and one family farms, respectively, and four counties in Entre Rios state from April 2014 to May 2015. Only four samples from backyard chickens belonged to three family farms from Uruguay County were positive to Salmonella spp., so the apparent prevalence was 0.6% for this kind of chicken. Four serovars were isolated (Salmonella ser. Lille, S. ser. Newport, S. ser. Enteritidis and S. ser. Rissen), which were susceptible to all antibiotics tested with the exception of erythromycin. For Hektoen enteric agar and brilliant green agar, relative specificity and positive predictive value were 1, and the relative sensitivity and negative predictive value did not show any difference between them. The agreement was very good between these two plating media. None of the variables studied could be selected to calculate the risk factors associated with Salmonella isolation because p > .15. Although the prevalence of Salmonella spp. is low in backyard birds in Entre Rios, the presence of S. ser. Enteritidis should not be discounted, because it is found in the county that concentrates a large population of intensive poultry production in the state.

Concepts: Positive predictive value, Negative predictive value, Type I and type II errors, Sensitivity and specificity, Binary classification, Biostatistics, XLD agar, Statistical ratios


The heat resistance of a cocktail of five Salmonella strains and five L. monocytogenes strains was determined in teriyaki-marinated chicken breasts. Inoculated meat, packaged in bags, were completely immersed in a circulating water bath and cooked to a final temperature of 55, 57.5 or 60°C in 1h, and then held for predetermined times. The surviving Salmonella and L. monocytogenes cells were enumerated by surface plating on XLD agar and Palcam agar, respectively. D-values, determined by linear regression, of Salmonella in chicken breast ranged from 47.65min at 55°C to 7.48min at 60°C; the values for L. monocytogenes ranged from 54.81min at 55°C to 10.39min at 60°C. Marination rendered the pathogen more sensitive to the lethal effect of heat. The results of this study will assist the food industry in ensuring microbiological safety of sous-vide processed marinated chicken breasts.

Concepts: Microbiology, Salmonella, Listeria monocytogenes, Listeria, Listeriosis, Agar plate, XLD agar, Cooking techniques


Exosomes, molecular cargos secreted by almost all mammalian cells, are considered as promising biomarkers to identify many diseases including cancers. However, the small size of exosomes (30-200 nm) poses serious challenges on their isolation from the complex media containing a variety of extracellular vesicles (EVs) of different sizes, especially in small sample volumes. Here we present a viscoelasticity-based microfluidic system to directly separate exosomes from cell culture media or serum in a continuous, size-dependent, and label-free manner. Using a small amount of biocompatible polymer as the additive into the media to control the viscoelastic forces exerted on EVs, we are able to achieve a high separation purity (> 90 %) and recovery (> 80 %) of exosomes. The proposed technique may serve as a versatile platform to facilitate exosome analyses in diverse biochemical applications.

Concepts: DNA, Cell, Bacteria, Microbiology, Cell biology, Cell culture, XLD agar, Growth medium


Objective: To explore the effects of combined application of culture supernatant of human umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cells (hUCMSCs) and ciprofloxacin on Staphylococcus aureus (SA) in vitro. Methods: hUCMSCs were isolated from umbilical cord tissue of full-term healthy fetus after cesarean section and cultured. Cells in the third passage were used in the experiments after identification. SA strains isolated from wounds of burn patients in our burn wards were used in the experiments. Cells were divided into 0, 10, 100, and 1 000 ng/mL lipopolysaccharide (LPS) groups according to the random number table (the same dividing method below). Cells were cultured with culture medium of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) after being treated with medium containing the corresponding mass concentrations of LPS for 12 h. At post culture hour (PCH) 6, 12, and 24, 6 wells of culture supernatant of cells in each group were obtained to measure the content of LL-37 with enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Ninety blood agar plates were divided into ciprofloxacin control group (CC), ciprofloxacin+ supernatant group (CS), and ciprofloxacin+ supernatant+ LL-37 antibody group (CSL), with 30 blood agar plates in each group. Blood agar plates in group CC were coated with 1.5×10(8) colony forming unit (CFU)/mL bacteria solution prepared with normal saline. Blood agar plates in group CS were coated with 1.5×10(8) CFU/mL bacteria solution prepared with normal saline and culture supernatant of hUCMSCs (cultured by culture medium of MSCs, the same below) in double volume of normal saline. Blood agar plates in group CSL were coated with 1.5×10(8) CFU/mL bacteria solution prepared with normal saline, culture supernatant of hUCMSCs in double volume of normal saline, and 2.6 μL LL-37 antibody in the concentration of 2 μg/mL. At PCH 12, 24, and 48, 10 blood agar plates of each group were harvested to observe the distribution of SA colony on blood agar plate and to measure the diameter of bacterial inhibition ring of ciprofloxacin. The minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) of ciprofloxacin against SA of each group was recorded. Fractional inhibitory concentration (FIC) indexes of ciprofloxacin in groups CS and CSL at PCH 12, 24, and 48 were calculated, and the effect of synergy was evaluated. Data were processed with analysis of variance of factorial design, one-way analysis of variance, LSD-t test, Kruskal-Wallis test, and Mann-Whitney U test. Results: (1) At each PCH, the content of LL-37 in culture supernatant of cells in 10, 100, and 1 000 ng/mL LPS groups was higher than that in 0 ng/mL LPS group (with t values from 11.22 to 33.36, P values below 0.01); the content of LL-37 in culture supernatant of cells in 100 and 1 000 ng/mL LPS groups was higher than that in 10 ng/mL LPS group (with t values from 2.24 to 18.73, P<0.05 or P<0.01); the content of LL-37 in culture supernatant of cells in 1 000 ng/mL LPS group was higher than that in 100 ng/mL LPS group (with t values from 12.46 to 14.70, P values below 0.01). (2) At PCH 12, 24, and 48, the bacterial colonies in groups CC, CS, and CSL began to integrate over time. At PCH 12, 24, and 48, the diameters of bacterial inhibition ring of ciprofloxacin in group CC were 26, 24, and 23 mm, respectively, with no obvious change. At PCH 12, 24, and 48, the diameters of bacterial inhibition ring of ciprofloxacin in groups CS and CSL were 82, 71, 68 mm, and 74, 59, 56 mm, respectively, significantly longer than those of group CC. (3) At each PCH, the MIC of ciprofloxacin against SA was significantly higher in group CC than in groups CS and CSL (with Z values from 6.22 to 6.71, P values below 0.01); the MIC of ciprofloxacin against SA was significantly higher in group CSL than in group CS (with Z values all equal to 6.72, P values below 0.01). (4) FIC indexes of ciprofloxacin in groups CS and CSL at PCH 12, 24, and 48 were 0.011, 0.032, 0.032, and 0.122, 0.350, 0.350, respectively. The results indicated that culture supernatant of hUCMSCs had synergistically antibacterial effect on ciprofloxacin. Conclusions: hUCMSCs can secrete LL-37, and the secretion level is increased with increase of LPS concentration. Combination of culture supernatant of hUCMSCs and ciprofloxacin can decrease the dosage of ciprofloxacin in resisting SA. Once LL-37 is neutralized, the synergistically antibacterial effect of culture supernatant of hUCMSCs is decreased.

Concepts: Bacteria, Mesenchymal stem cell, Bone marrow, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Agar plate, XLD agar, Growth medium, Petri dish