Detection and identification of food isolates have, until recently, been performed mainly through biochemical and phenotypic methods. Nevertheless, taxonomists are aware that the phenotype may not accurately reflect true bacterial relationships. Phenotypic methods are generally labor intensive, time-consuming and do not always give unequivocal results. In addition, traditional methods are often insufficient to reliably identify many bacterial species and to monitor growth and dynamics of specific species and/or strains in complex bacterial communities. The most commonly used typing techniques are summarized in Table 1.2.
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