The hygienic condition of 6 milking installations, 3 sanitized by circulation cleaning (CC) with chlorine-based chemicals and 3 by flushing with acidified boiling water (ABW), was tested using rinses of quarter strength Ringer's solution. The bacterial content of the rinses was determined using both colony counts and the direct epifluorescent filter technique (DEFT). A comparison of testing methods gave correlation coefficients between colony count and DEFT of 0·82 for plants using CC and 0·46 for plants using ABW.
Five strains of bacteria belonging to different genera and commonly found on milking equipment were exposed to various degrees of heat and to various concentrations of chlorine. The effects of such treatments on the staining characteristics of the organisms were studied. It was observed that Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus lactis, although killed by heat treatment, stained a bright orange when treated with acridine orange dye. Pseudomonas fluorescens, Escherichia coli and vegetative cells of Bacillus cereus did not take up the orange stain after heat treatment, nor did any of the 5 strains stain orange after treatment with NaOCl. It is suggested that the DEFT is a useful and rapid means of counting bacteria in rinses of equipment where sterilization is due primarily to chlorination, but in the absence of a stain which can differentiate more accurately between dead and living organisms its use is limited where sterilization is carried out solely by heat.