This review describes some recent developments in chromogenic and fluorogenic culture media in microbiological diagnostic. The detection of beta-D-glucuronidase (GUD) activity for enumeration of Escherichia coli is well known. E. coli O157:H7 strains are usually GUD-negative and do not ferment sorbitol. These characteristics are used in selective media for these organisms and new chromogenic media are available. Some of the new chromogenic media make the Salmonella diagnostic easier and faster. The use of chromogenic and fluorogenic substrates for detection of beta-D-glucosidase (beta-GLU) activity to differentiate enterococci has received considerable attention and new media are described. Rapid detection of Clostridium perfringens, Listeria monocytogenes, Bacillus cereus and Staphylococcus aureus are other application of enzyme detection methods in food and water microbiology.