The general concept of measurement errors is applied to quantitative bacteriological counts on membrane filters or agar plates. The systematic errors of these methods are related to the growth characteristics of the medium (recovery of target organisms and inhibition of non-target organisms) and to its differential characteristics (sensitivity and specificity). Factors that influence the precision of microbiological counts are the variation between replicates, within samples, between operators and between laboratories. It is also affected by the linearity of the method, the verification rate and, where applicable, the number of colonies subcultured for verification. Repeatability (r) and reproducibility (R) values can be calculated on the logarithmic scale.

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