Lenticules for the control of quantitative methods in food microbiology

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Control dried organisms as lenticules are a dependable and convenient alternative to wet cultures for quality assurance and process controls in routine food microbiology. Lenticules are designed to give a fixed, reproducible inoculum over an extended period of time without loss of cultural characteristics or viability. During a period of 23 months, 596 paired counts were performed by both Miles and Misra and spiral plating techniques on lenticule controls. Correlation between the two methods and within batches was excellent. Only 14 counts (2·5%) fell outside the standard operating limit of 0·5 log10. All were within 1·0 log10. On two separate occasions, replicate runs were performed on five reconstituted lenticules from a batch. The counts obtained showed variation within and between lenticules only slightly in excess of what is expected by chance. Lenticule replicates performed by three other laboratories also produced satisfactory results. It is thought that lenticules could improve the accuracy of total plate counts and lead to a better standardization of quantitative methods in food microbiology within and between laboratories.

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