Effects of ratio of surface area to volume of sample during preliminary incubation (PI) and of different plate incubation temperatures on bacterial counts of raw milk samples were studied. One hundred and twenty Grade A raw milk samples collected during a 10-month period were divided into five 100-ml aliquots and allotted to one of five surface area to volume ratios. The ratios during PI ranged from 0 cm2/100 ml to 149.74 cm2/100 ml. Following PI, pour plates of each treatment were incubated at 26, 30 and 32 C for 72 h. The Standard Plate Counts (SPC) ranged from 89 × 101 to 20 × 108/ml, with the SPC of 73.6% of the samples being less than 1 × 105/ml. Counts after PI tended to be higher as the plate incubation temperature decreased from 32 to 26 C and as the ratio of surface area to volume of sample increased. None of the differences between the counts for the 15 treatment-incubation temperatures was significant. Counts of 61 samples increased less than one log count during PI, while counts of 33 and 16 samples increased one to two log counts and over two log counts, respectively. The greater the SPC, the smaller the increase in count during PI. Of the 81 samples with SPC less than 1 × 105/ml, 29 had counts after PI that exceeded 2 × 105/ml.

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Author notes

1Published with the approval of the Director of the Kentucky Agricultural Experiment Station as Journal Article 79-5-42.

2Supported in part by a grant from the American Public Health Association (FDA-223-73-2151).