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International Journal of Food Microbiology, 109, 179-186, 2006.


Escherichia coli O157:H7 or E. coli O26, which were AS (antibiotic sensitive), AR (laboratory created antibiotic resistant mutants), or naturally MAR (multi-antibiotic resistant), were inoculated into laboratory media, yoghurt or orange juice and their growth/survival monitored during enrichment at 37 °C or storage at 4 °C. The strains were also inoculated into minced beef and their thermal inactivation (D-values) examined at 55 °C, with and without a prior heat shock at 48 °C. The growth kinetics (lag phases, growth rates) of the VTEC (verocytotoxigenic E. coli), incubated over 24 h at 37 °C in laboratory media, were similar regardless of the presence or absence of antibiotic resistance. In yoghurt and orange juice, E. coli O157:H7 MAR died off significantly faster (P < 0.05) than any of other VTEC strains examined. E. coli O157:H7 MAR was also found to be significantly more heat sensitive (P < 0.05) than the other VTEC strains tested. The reasons for the observed differences in survival of the different VTEC strains and the link between antibiotic resistance and survival in VTEC organisms are discussed.


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