U.S. Department of Agriculture: Agricultural Research Service, Lincoln, Nebraska


Date of this Version


Document Type



Published in Letters in Applied Microbiology (2000) 31, 178-183


A chromogenic Limulus amoebocyte lysate (LAL) endpoint assay was found to be an accurate and rapid means of gauging levels of beef carcass microbial contamination within 10 min. The assay demonstrated a high correlation with the total mesophilic bacterial and coliform surface populations from inoculated beef carcass surface tissues. This assay was tested on a set of actual beef carcass surface samples (n=121) demonstrating the utility of the chromogenic LAL test as a means of monitoring carcass microbial contamination in a near real-time fashion. Classifying the chromogenic LAL results into four contamination groups was found to be a sound means of utilizing the resultant chromogenic LAL data for detecting carcasses with high levels of microbial contamination. For beef carcass testing, this assay can be used with no instrumentation other than the required 37°C incubator and, as an option, a microplate reader.