Arcobacter species are gram-negative rods that have been implicated in food- and waterborne illness. Although various cultural isolation methods have been proposed, the current procedures are unable to fully suppress the growth of background microbiota present in food samples, which inhibits Arcobacter isolation. The purpose of this study was to develop a selective enrichment broth and chromogenic plating medium to detect three Arcobacter species that have been recognized as emerging foodborne pathogens: Arcobacter butzleri, Arcobacter cryaerophilus, and Arcobacter skirrowii. The developed Nguyen-Restaino-Juárez (NRJ) Arcobacter detection system consists of a selective enrichment broth (NRJ-B) and a selective-differential plating medium (NRJ-M). The protocol of the detection method was determined by evaluating the growth of A. butzleri, A. cryaerophilus, and A. skirrowii under various temperatures (30, 35, and 42°C) and incubation (aerobic, microaerophilic, and anaerobic) conditions. Additionally, 47 Arcobacter strains and 39 non-Arcobacter strains were tested in inclusivity and exclusivity evaluations of NRJ-B and NRJ-M. Overall, the study determined that the optimal growth conditions of Arcobacter species using the NRJ Arcobacter detection system were aerobic incubation at 30°C. NRJ-B supported good growth of A. butzleri, A. cryaerophilus, and A. skirrowii while effectively suppressing the growth of non-Arcobacter strains after 48 h. Furthermore, NRJ-M yielded 97.8% inclusivity and 100.0% exclusivity using the tested strains and resulted in salmon-pigmented Arcobacter colonies (1.0 to 1.5 mm in diameter) after 72 h. The novel protocol is the first to develop a chromogenic plating medium for the isolation of Arcobacter species. This simple and accurate test method would greatly contribute to understanding the distribution of pathogenic Arcobacter species in food samples.

  • The chromogenic plating medium yielded 97.8% inclusivity and 100.0% exclusivity.

  • Arcobacter species are differentiated by C2 esterase activity resulting in salmon colonies.

  • Detection system provides a cost-effective procedure for Arcobacter detection.

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