Med. Weter. 74 (1), 16-22, 2018

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Production of staphylococcal enterotoxins in food
Staphylococcal food poisoning results from ingestion of food contaminated with toxins produced by enterotoxigenic Staphylococcus aureus strains. Common symptoms of this intoxication include vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal cramps. Staphylococcal enterotoxins are resistant to heat and a number of environmental factors. Certain cheeses, milk powder, and whey powder are the only foodstuffs that are being routinely examined for the presence of staphylococcal enterotoxins SEA-SEE. The newly identified enterotoxins are not included in the current examination scheme. Enterotoxin-producing staphylococci were already isolated from meat, meat products, milk, dairy products, fermented food products, vegetables, pastries and fish products. It has been demonstrated that many environmental factors associated with food processing and storage can significantly influence the level of secreted enterotoxins by S. aureus strains. Nevertheless, only a few studies on the production of staphylococcal enterotoxins were conducted in foodstuffs. Most data on their expression is based on experiments performed with a low number of S. aureus strains, and usually only SEA-SEE enterotoxins are investigated. These results inclined many authors to the conclusion that milk and dairy products are unfavorable environments for expression of staphylococcal enterotoxins. However, recent research has indicated a significant heterogeneity in the ability of enterotoxin production in milk among S. aureus strains derived from diverse sources. S. aureus strains able to secrete high levels of enterotoxins in milk and meat juice were described. This research indicates that a high number of S. aureus strains should be used for studying staphylococcal enterotoxins expression in food. It seems to be the appropriate way to assess the risk of staphylococcal food poisoning....
Key words: Staphylococcus aureus, staphylococcal enterotoxins, food