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Variation in Levels of Coliforms and Escherichia Coli Type 1 in Queensland Cheddar Cheese

Authors: T.W. Dommett


Four Cheddar cheeses containing coliform bacteria were stored for three months at 7-10°C and relative humidity 50-70%. At monthly intervals, 18 random samples were taken from each cheese according to a statistically designed pattern of three nested surfaces, two positions (corner or side) and three depths. Most Probably Number (MPN) presumptive coliforms/g and MPN Escherichia coli presumptive type 1/g were determined for each sample at each sampling period.

Initial coliform and E. coli types 1 levels varied between cheeses, but all decreased significantly with time. In no cheese was E. coli type 1 the sole coliform type found. The numbers of coliforms and E. coli type 1 did not differ significantly between surfaces or between positions sampled. There were, however, significant differences in coliform counts between depth sampled.

Linear regression curves were obtained when the overall MPN coliforms/g and MPN E. coli type 1/g were plotted logarithmically against time. The surface position and depth sampled had no significant effects on the slopes of the regression lines.

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