Effects of pH on distribution of Listeria ribotypes in corn, hay, and grass silage.
E T, Ryser
Arimi, S M
C W, Donnelly
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Listeria app, isolated from 13 of 129 (10%) corn silage samples, 21 of 76 (28%) hay silage samples, and 3 of 5 (60%) grass silage samples during a previous Vermont survey were subjected to automated ribotype (RT) analysis. The 13 positive corn silage samples contained 3 Listeria monocytogenes isolated (three RTs, including one known clinical RT) and 10 L. innocua isolates (four RTs). Similarly, 2 L. monocytogenes isolates (two RTs) and 19 L. innocua isolates (three RTs) were identified in the 21 positive hay silage samples. The three positive grass silage samples contained two L. innocua isolates (two RTs) and one isolate of L. welshimeri. One hundred seven of 129 (83%) high-quality (pH < 4.0) corn silage samples accounted for 8 of 13 Listeria isolates from corn silage, including isolates belonging to one L. monocytogenes clinical RT. In contrast, low-quality hay silage (70 of 76 [92%] samples having a pH of > or = 4.0) harbored 20 of 21 isolates, including isolates belonging to two nonclinical L. monocytogenes RTs. Poor-quality silage is readily discernible by appearance; however, these findings raise new concerns regarding the safety of high-quality (pH < 4.0) corn silage, which can contain Listeria spp., including L. monocytogenes strains belonging to RTs of clinical importance in cases of food-borne listeriosis.