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Chapter 8.4 : Processing Specimens for Fungal Culture
When a specimen is suspected to contain a fungal etiologic agent, it should be processed for fungal culture, regardless of direct microscopic findings. Recovery of fungal pathogens in culture provides definitive diagnosis of mycotic disease, identifies the etiologic agent of infection, and allows evaluation of in vitro susceptibility to antifungal agents. If there is insufficient material for both microscopy and culture, all of the specimen should be used for culture, since this is the more sensitive procedure for detection of fungi. Methods of specimen processing and culture are designed to retain the viability of the fungus and to obtain the maximum yield of organisms from clinical specimens. The choice of media for the isolation of fungi from clinical material is based primarily on the most likely species to be found in a particular site or under a recognized clinical condition. Selective media are included when other microorganisms, particularly bacteria, might also be present in the specimen. Specimens should be processed as soon as possible after receipt. Some specimens may require pretreatment prior to culture.