The heat tolerance of 27 Enterococcus faecium isolates in water was studied. Stationary phase cultures including vancomycin resistant and sensitive clinical and food isolates were exposed to heat at 60 degrees, 65 degrees, 71 degrees, and 80 degrees C for one, three, 10, and 30 minutes and the log10 reductions in bacterial counts were determined. Exposure at 71 degrees and 80 degrees C resulted in > 6 log10 reduction in viable counts for all isolates. Seven (24%) isolates survived (< 5 log10 reduction) heat at 65 degrees C for 10 minutes. The E faecium isolates were more resistant to heat than the two E faecalis reference strains. No differences in heat tolerance were observed between vancomycin sensitive and resistant strains or between isolates of human or food origin.
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