This study aimed to evaluate the behavior of Petrifilm Lactic Acid Bacteria Count Plates (PLAB) as an alternative methodology to enumerate lactic acid bacteria (LAB) in bacon. Bacon samples (n = 40) were obtained from retail sale, 10-fold diluted with buffered peptone water (BPW, 0.2% [w/v]) and Letheen broth, and subjected to LAB enumeration according to four protocols: (i) de Man Rogosa Sharpe (MRS) agar, pH 5.7, 30°C; (ii) MRS, pH 5.7, 30°C, anaerobiosis; (iii) all-purpose Tween agar (APT), 25°C; and (iv) PLAB, 30°C. Colonies were enumerated at 24, 48, and 72 h, and the results expressed as log CFU per gram for comparison by analysis of variance and regression (P < 0.05). Furthermore, colonies were randomly selected and characterized as LAB (Gram staining and catalase). Mean LAB counts from MRS and PLAB did not present significant differences independently of incubation time or diluent (P > 0.05), whereas counts in APT with BPW after 24 h were significantly lower (P < 0.05). PLAB counts with BPW (24, 48, and 72 h) presented significant correlation with MRS (r ranging from 0.87 to 0.89; in anaerobiosis, r ranging from 0.94 to 0.95) and APT (r ranging from 0.84 to 0.86). With Letheen broth, PLAB (24, 48, and 72 h) presented significant correlation with MRS (r ranging from 0.92 to 0.94; in anaerobiosis, r ranging from 0.93 to 0.96) and APT (r ranging from 0.77 to 0.79). In total, 1,032 colonies (97%) from 1,063 colonies were characterized as LAB. Thus, PLAB can be considered as an alternative tool for enumerating LAB in bacon, with reliable results even after 24 h of incubation.

  • Adequacy of an alternative method for LAB enumeration was examined.

  • Faster results were obtained by the alternative method than the official protocols.

  • Proper selectivity for LAB was noted in the alternative method.

  • Equivalence was similar to that of official protocols.

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