Membrane Spread Technique

A "membrane-spread" technique for enumerating Escherichia coli, first described in 1975, used a 90-mm-diameter membrane filter, laid on the surface of an agar plate (6). The sample aliquot was deposited on the membrane filter and spread over the entire surface with a bent glass rod. This 24-hour method, which used bile salts and a 44.5°C incubation temperature for selectivity and an indole reaction as the differential test, was highly specific for E. coli biotype 1. This method, later modified to include a nonselective repair step (7), is recognized as a valid method by the International Commission on Microbiological Specifications for Foods (8).

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