Ten parameters affecting sensitivity, accuracy and simplicity of the diffusion plate method for determining antibiotic residues in meat were evaluated with spores of Bacillus stearothermophilus as the test organism. Eight antibiotics were studied and included penicillin, bacitracin, tetracycline, chlortetracycline, oxytetracycline, streptomycin, erythromycin and neomycin. Sensitivity of the method was most influenced by concentration of inoculum, quantity of assay medium on the plate and sample size. The optimal concentration of inoculum was established as 2 × 105 spores/ml of medium, quantity of the assay medium on plate/100 mm dia., as 6 ml and quantity of sample poured on disc/12.7 mm dia., as 100 μl. The pH of the assay medium was also important to both antibiotic potency and test organism growth. The activity of streptomycin and erythromycin was the most sensitive to pH variations.

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Author notes

1Department of Industrial Microbiology, University of Agriculture, Olsztyn-Kortowo, Poland.

2Formerly Department of Food Science and Technology, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA 24061.