The efficacy of Clausen, EE, Eugon, GN, Tergitol 7, lactose and nutrient broths as Salmonella preenrichment media was evaluated using 165 food samples with an incident contamination level ranging from 1.5 to 460 salmonellae/100 g. Replicate food samples (100 g) were preenriched in each of seven media (900 ml) for 6 h and 24 h at 35 C; various amounts (10, 1.0 and 0.1 ml) of preenriched cultures were selectively enriched in tetrathionate brilliant green (43 C) and selenite cystine (35 C) broths and plated on bismuth sulfite and brilliant green sulfa agars. Short (6 h) and 24-h preenrichment conditions resulted in 26 (16%) and 8 (5%) false negative results, respectively. Recovery of Salmonella from 6-h but not 24-h preenrichment cultures also varied directly with the portion of culture inoculated into selective enrichment broths. None of the preenrichment media tested performed satisfactorily at 6 h of incubation where levels of recovery ranged from 32 to 62%; at 24 h, good recovery was obtained with all media (95 to 100%) except EE broth (74%). The incidence of competitive flora was significantly higher on selenite + brilliant green sulfa than on tetrathionate + bismuth sulfite; transfer volumes (10 and 1.0 ml) and preenrichment media did not contribute significantly to the presence of non-salmonellae on plating media. Characteristics of preenrichment media were found to be less critical than preenrichment incubation time for effective recovery of Salmonella in foods and feed ingredients. The use of 1.0- rather than 10-ml preenrichment transfer volume is indicated because it proved to be completely reliable under our experimental conditions and reduced the cost of analyses.

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