Journal of Food Protection. 2013;76(1):40-51

Abstract: Foodborne pathogen isolate collections are important for the development of detection methods, for validation of intervention strategies, and to develop an understanding of pathogenesis and virulence. We have assembled a publicly available Cronobacter (formerly Enterobacter sakazakii) isolate set that consists of (i) 25 Cronobacter sakazakii isolates, (ii) two Cronobacter malonaticus isolates, (iii) one Cronobacter muytjensii isolate, which displays some atypical phenotypic characteristics, biochemical profiles, and colony color on selected differential media, and (iv) two nonclinical Enterobacter asburiae isolates, which show some phenotypic characteristics similar to those of Cronobacter spp. The set consists of human (n = 10), food (n = 11), and environmental (n = 9) isolates. Analysis of partial 16S rDNA sequence and seven-gene multilocus sequence typing data allowed for reliable identification of these isolates to species and identification of 14 isolates as sequence type 4, which had previously been shown to be the most common C. sakazakii sequence type associated with neonatal meningitis. Phenotypic characterization was carried out with API 20E and API 32E test strips and streaking on two selective chromogenic agars; isolates were also assessed for sorbitol fermentation and growth at 45°C. Although these strategies typically produced the same classification as sequence-based strategies, based on a panel of four biochemical tests, one C. sakazakiii solate yielded inconclusive data and one was classified as C. malonaticusEcoRI automated ribotyping and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) with XbaI separated the set into 23 unique ribotypes and 30 unique PFGE types, respectively, indicating subtype diversity within the set. Subtype and source data for the collection are publicly available in the PathogenTracker database (, which allows for continuous updating of information on the set, including links to publications that include information on isolates from this collection.

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This work was supported by the IAFNS Committee on Food Microbiology.