m-TEC Testing for E. coli

Aquaplates™ m-TEC Agar Media Plates for E. coli Testing

(Note that this test has been pretty much replaced by modified m-TEC test - EPA method 1603. We offer it but very few buy this any more. Instead buy modified m-TEC here. )

In 1981, A.P. Dufour was credited with developing a membrane filter technique for the enumeration and identification of E. coli using m-TEC media. This was a significant improvement over the methods available at the time by allowing the E. coli assay to be performed in 1-day.

However, in March of 2007, the USEPA (United States Environmental Protection Agency) replaced regular m-TEC with modified m-TEC (method 1603) as an approved method for enumerating E. coli for NPDES (National Primary Discharge and Elimination) reporting. The modified method replaced urea/phenol substrate with a chromogenic substrate and hence it is possible now to perform E. coli test in a single step.

After incubation for 22 hours at 44.5 degrees Celcius, m-TEC plate still need to be transferred to a petri dish with a pad soaked with urea and phenol substrate for fifteen minutes before yellow-brown colonies can be counted. In modified m-TEC, this step is not necessary and much more distinct red-magenta colonies are visible without the second step.

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(Or go to modified m-TEC page which has largely replaced this test!)

Steps for m-TEC Testing

Step 1. Filter the sample with a sterile cellulosic 0.45 micron filter.

Step 2. With flamed (sterile) tweezers, gently place the filter on the modified m-TEC media plates by placing it on one end rolling it to the other edge.

Step 3. Incubate this plate first at 35 degrees Celcius for two hours to resuscitate stress microorganisms and then at 44.5 degrees Celcius for 22 (+/- 2 hours).

Step 4. Transfer the membrane to a petri-dish containing pad saturated with urea and phenol sustrate, wait for 15 minutes and then count the yellow-brown colonies.

(Advantages of modified m-TEC over original m-TEC)

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