We investigated the possibility of using hollow-fiber ultrafiltration (HUF) for the simultaneous recovery of multiple microorganisms in food samples. MS2 bacteriophage, E. coli, Bacillus subtilis spores, and murine norovirus (MNV) were each inoculated into 5 liters of either distilled water (DW) or glycine elution buffer and then concentrated using hollow-fiber polysulfone ultrafilters. The resulting concentrates were further analyzed by either cultivation or TaqMan real-time reverse transcription PCR assay. The overall average recovery rates were 7.1% in DW and 17.1% in glycine elution buffer. When the virus, vegetative bacteria, and bacterial spores were simultaneously inoculated into DW, glycine, or Tris-HCl elution buffers, on average 16.8% of inoculated microorganisms were recovered by HUF. The addition of 3% beef extract blocking buffer to HUF increased the total recovery rate to 46.1%, with incremental recovery rates increasing sharply for B. subtilis spores and MNV. Use of HUF resulted in E. coli recovery rates of 68.0% on lettuce and 66.2% on ham and MNV recovery rates of 1.5% on lettuce and 5.8% on ham. Our study demonstrates that HUF can be effective at simultaneously recovering and concentrating diverse bacterial and viral pathogens from foods.
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