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Studies on the Coccaceae. XVIII. The enterotoxin-producing micrococci

Studies on the Coccaceae. XVIII. The enterotoxin-producing micrococci

Tech Bulletin New York State geneva Agric Expt Sta 275: 1-82

114 strains of micrococci associated directly and indirectly with gastro-intestinal disturbances were studied, including culture characteristics, enterotoxin production, and serol. differentiations. The results indicated that the enterotoxin-producing strains are more frequently pigmented, produce acid from lactose and maltose, and grow on alkaline media in the presence of brom thymol blue. The active enterotoxin-producing types generally liquefied gelatin and hemolyzed washed rabbit red cells. The ability to produce coagulase was found to correlate in a very large % with enterotoxin production. A detailed study was made on the procedures most applicable to this group to determine liquefaction of gelatin. The optimum incubation temp. was 25[degree] C, followed by a hardening period of 4 hours at 21[degree] C. Precipitin reactions were not found to be usable in differentiating enterotoxin-producing strains, although 11 different precipitants were used in preparing cell extracts. Certain correlations were found when HC1 was used as a precipitant to prepare specific precipitin substances. Phos-photungstic acid, except in low concs., completely removed precipitin-reacting substances from Micrococcus cells. It is concluded that micrococci vary considerably in enterotoxin production in this closely related strain, as well as in the same strain, and that this character is not specific but rather a character which can be assumed by certain pathological micrococci. In determining the cause of food poisoning epidemics which may be due to micrococci, the presence of a large number of orange, or less commonly white, hemolytic coagulase-producing types in a suspected food is presumptive evidence that such organisms may have been the cause of the epidemic.

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