Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Science in Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering (MSBiosyAgE)

Document Type

Master's Thesis


Agriculture; Engineering


Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. C. L. Crofcheck

Second Advisor

Dr. S. P. Walker


The microbiological testing of foods is a well-established science. Due to the severity of foodborne pathogen illnesses, the widespread use and implementation of rapid detection methods in food testing labs is increasingly important. The first step for successful testing is sampling. Surfactants have been highly used in food microbiology, but there is not much, if any, published research about the use of fatty alcohols and chemical dispersants as aids in microbial separation. The microbial extraction efficiency of Escherichia coli K12 and Listeria innocua from hot dogs, spinach, and milk was measured using chemical additives (surfactants, fatty alcohols, and a chemical dispersant) in a buffer solution. Dry matter content was calculated using the oven method to determine how clean the sample was at the end of processing. Tween 80 at 0.01% was found to be the most effective additive for microbial recovery for each food matrix examined. The addition of fatty alcohols to surfactants also showed much promise in aiding separation as well as in minimizing dry matter in the final solution. However, the use of Buffered Peptone Water as the diluting agent resulted in very high recovery percentages without the need for additives.