Participants of an international workshop on rapid methods and automation were surveyed concerning the numbers of total plate counts and coliform counts performed per year, the numbers and kinds of pathogen detection tests routinely performed, and the type of instruments and diagnostic kits routinely used in their laboratories. The candid opinions on what is needed in the near future and the general perceptions of the field of rapid methods and automation in microbiology and their wish list were also solicited. Responses from 55 professional practicing microbiologists were analyzed. The data should be of interest to educators and the developers of instruments and diagnostic kits as well as applied microbiologists concerned with the current status and future development of the field of rapid methods and automation in microbiology
Ten commercial bacterial diagnostic systems (AMS, API 20E, AUTOBAC IDX, CATHRA, ENTERIC-TEK, ENTEROTUBE II, MICRO-ID, MINITEK 4 h, MINITEK 24 h and SPECTRUM 10) were evaluated by use of 12 coded enteric bacteria ( Arizona hinshawii , Citrobacter freundii , Enterobacter cloacae , Hafnia alvei , Klebsiella pneumoniae , Morganella morganii , Proteus mirabilis , Proteus vulgaris , Salmonella typhimurium , Serratia marcescens , Shigella dysenteriae and Shigella flexneri ) in two separate workshops (July, 1981 and July, 1982) consisting of 40 participants. Results indicated that most commercial systems provided satisfactory diagnosis (89% to 100%) of these organisms compared to conventional methods. The uniqueness of this study lies in the fact that a group of microbiologists from a variety of geographic locations, training and backgrounds were able to use these systems accurately after only a single exposure to many of the techniques in a workshop environment.
This review article discusses the application and implications of automated or semi-automated instrumentation as well as miniaturized methods which can be used to detect and characterize microorganisms of importance in the food industry. The instrumentation section includes techniques involving turbidometry, radiometry, fluorometry, immunology, and chromatography. Miniaturized methods include various diagnostic kits and procedures. Instruments and techniques such as immobilized enzyme analysis and nuclear magnetic resonance, which have potential applications to this area of microbiology, are also mentioned.