A comparison of three methods for the isolation of Arcobacter spp. from retail raw poultry in Northern Ireland

R. Scullion, C. S. Harrington, R. H. Madden

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Recent evidence suggests that arcobacters, especially Arcobacter butzleri, are potential foodborne pathogens, but standardized detection methods have yet to be established. A study was undertaken to determine which of three isolation methods was the most effective for the isolation of Arcobacter spp. from fresh raw poultry. Method I was microaerobic and involved a membrane filtration step followed by plating onto blood agar. Method 2 was also microaerobic and involved enrichment and plating media containing a five-antibiotic cocktail. Method 3 was aerobic and was based on enrichment in a charcoal-based broth containing two antibiotics. Retail poultry samples (n = 50) were obtained from supermarkets in Northern Ireland; the European Community license number was recorded to ensure sample diversity. Presumptive arcobacters were identified using genus-specific and species-specific primers. Method I resulted in the lowest recovery of arcobacters (28% of samples positive). The detection rate for method 2 (68%) was higher than that for method 3 (50%), but the difference was not significant (P > 0.05). Modification of method 3 by plating the enrichment broth at 24 h, as well as at 48 It, increased recovery to 68%. Use of methods 2 and 3 together increased the number of positive samples detected by approximately 25% compared with use of either method alone. A. butzleri was the most commonly isolated species using all methods. Method 3 detected Arcobacter cryaerophilus in more samples (if = 3) than did methods I and 2 (n = 1). Arcobacter skirrowii was detected by only method 3 (it = 1). In terms of sensitivity, ease of use, and diversity of species recovered, modified method 3 was the overall method of choice
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Food Protection
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)799-804
Publication statusPublished - 2004


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