Evaluation of Blood Agar Medium for the Growth of Mycobacteria

Coban A. Y., Akgunes A., Durupinar B.

MIKROBIYOLOJI BULTENI, vol.45, no.4, pp.617-622, 2011 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 45 Issue: 4
  • Publication Date: 2011
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, TR DİZİN (ULAKBİM)
  • Page Numbers: pp.617-622
  • Keywords: Mycobacteria, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, culture, blood agar, CHOCOLATE AGAR, TUBERCULOSIS, SUSCEPTIBILITY, DRUGS
  • Ondokuz Mayıs University Affiliated: Yes


This study was aimed to evaluate the performance of blood agar for the growth of mycobacteria from clinical specimens sent to Mycobacteriology Laboratory of Samsun Chest Diseases Hospital. One hundred fifty six clinical specimens including 123 sputum, 28 bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) and 5 pleural fluid specimens were inoculated in Lowenstein-Jensen (LJ), BACTEC MGIT 960 system (Becton Dickinson, USA) and blood agar following decontamination process. The specimens were also simultaneously examined for the presence of acid-fast bacilli (AFB). Thirty five mycobacteria strains (33 Mycobacterium tuberculosis and 2 atypical mycobacteria) grew in blood agar, 38 (36 M.tuberculosis and 2 atypical mycobacteria) in LJ media and 46 (44 M.tuberculosis and 2 atypical mycobacteria) in BACTEC MGIT 960 system. Among 29 AFB negative specimens, 20 revealed growth in both blood agar and LJ medium and 27 in MGIT system. AFB positive 20 samples yielded growth in 15 samples in blood agar, 18 in LJ medium and 19 in MGIT system. Among the total of 156 samples, contamination was observed in 15 (9.6%) samples in blood agar, 16 (10.2%) in LJ medium and 18 (11.5%) in MGIT system. Growth time was 5-35 days (mean 18 +/- 7.4), 11-35 days (mean 19 +/- 5.9) and 5-15 days (mean 10 +/- 2.4) for blood agar, LJ medium and BACTEC MGIT 960 system, respectively. The three samples which revealed contamination in BACTEC MGIT 960 system, grew successfully in both blood agar and 14 medium without contamination. In one sample, growth was observed only in LJ medium but neither in blood agar nor BACTEC MGIT 960 system. However, in another sample, growth was observed only in blood agar while no growth was detected in LJ or BACTEC MGIT 960 system. Six samples yielded mycobacteria only in BACTEC MGIT 960 system. These results indicated that simultaneous use of one liquid and one solid medium to grow mycobacteria from the clinical samples seemed to be complementary. Blood agar was a promising choice since it was found to be as effective as LJ medium for the growth of mycobacteria, however, this issue needs to be further evaluated in a multicentre study with a larger specimen collection.