Chromogenic Coliforms Agar (CCA) is a selective medium for the detection of E. coli and other coliforms in waters and foods. The recovery and enumeration of Escherichia coli and coliforms are important indicators of environmental and food hygiene. The interaction of ingredients in the medium, such as peptone, sorbitol and pyruvate, grants a quick colony growth, including infectious coliforms and also permits the recovery of sublethal thermally injured coliforms. Tergitol-7 inhibits Gram-positive bacteria and some Gram-negative without affecting the coliform bacteria. Sodium chloride maintains the osmotic balance and phosphate salts act as a buffer system. Bacteriological agar is the solidifying agent. Detection of ÃŸ-glucuronidase is widely used to differentiate Escherichia coli, as the enzyme is present in E. coli but not in other member of coliform group. The chromogenic mixture contains chromogenic substrates: Salmon-GAL and X-glucuronide. Coliform enzymes produced, ÃŸ-D-galactosidase and ÃŸ-D-glucuronidase, cleave these substrates resulting in the different coloration of bacteria colonies. The ÃŸ-D-galactosidase cleaves Salmon-GAL substrate, and gives a salmon-red color to the coliform colonies. The ÃŸ-D-glucuronidase, enzyme characteristic of E. coli, cleaves X-glucuronide, giving a blue color to these colonies. E. coli has the two enzymes and cleaves both chromogenic substances giving dark blue to violet colonies. Total coliforms are the sum of E. coli colonies plus salmon-red colonies. The addition of tryptophan to the medium allows the performance of the Indole test for further E.coli confirmation.
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