Enrichment culture (EC) in modified buffered peptone water followed by immunomagnetic separation (IMS) with magnetic beads coated with an antibody against 0157 (Dynabeads anti- 0157; Dynal, Oslo) was compared with direct culture on cefixime rhamnose sorbitol MacConkey agar (CR-SMAC) and cefixime tellurite sorbitol MacConkey agar (CT-SMAC) for the isolation of 0157 from bovine faeces. When used to examine bovine faecal suspensions inoculated with 12 different strains of 0157, EC-IMS was c. 100-fold more sensitive for detection of the organism than direct culture on either medium. During monitoring of a dairy herd, 0157 was isolated from 84 (8.2 %) of 1024 rectal swabs taken from cattle over a 4-month period; 23 (27.4% of the 84 strains were isolated by both direct culture and IMS (15 of the 23 were isolated on both media, five on CT-SMAC only and three on CR-SMAC only), whereas 61 (72.6%) strains were isolated by IMS only. IMS is a sensitive and simple technique for the isolation of 0157 from bovine faecal samples and should prove useful in elucidating further the epidemiology of this organism.


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