Rapid Methods Of Microbiological Analysis

Rapid methods and automation in microbiology are dynamic fields of study that address the utilization of microbiological, chemical, biochemical, biophysical, immunological, and serological methods for the study of improving isolation, early detection, characterization, and enumeration of microorganisms and their products in clinical, food, industrial, and environmental samples. In the past 10 years, food microbiologists have started to adapt rapid and automated methods in their laboratories (Fig. 1). Conventional methods of detection, enumeration identification and characterization of microbes, are described in reference books such as Compendium of Methods for the Microbiological Examination of Foods (1), Official Methods of Analysis of the AO AC (2), Bacteriological Analytical Manual (3), Standard Methods for the Examination of Dairy Products (4), and Modern Food Microbiology (5). A comprehensive treatment of all areas of food microbiology was recently published by Doyle, et al. (6).

Important publications on the subject of rapid methods for medical specimens, water, food, industrial, and environmental samples are in a series of papers by Fung and colleagues (7-11) and books such as Instrumental Methods for Quality Assurance in Foods (12) and Rapid Analysis Technique in Food Microbiology (13). Hartman et al. (14) had an excellent chapter on rapid methods and automation in Compendium (1). Swaminathan and Feng (15) also provided updated materials in rapid methods.

The purpose of this article is to review the basic principles and practical applications of a variety of instruments and procedures directly and indirectly related to improved methods for microbiology in quality assurance and research in food microbiology.

Figure 1. Relative interest in rapid methods among medical microbiologists and food microbiologists.
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