Chapter 47 : Approaches to Identification of Anaerobic Bacteria

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This chapter presents an adaptable approach to anaerobic bacteriology based on the resources and capabilities of laboratories. Rare urinary tract infections caused by anaerobic bacteria can be detected first by Gram staining. Newer studies using molecular methods have shown that many organisms implicated in bacterial vaginosis cannot be recovered in culture. Clostridium difficile infection is best diagnosed by toxigenic culture, with molecular detection of the toxin B gene yielding the next best results. Analysis of cellular fatty acids has been used to develop extensive databases for anaerobic identification. This method, although mostly being replaced by faster modern methods for clinical use, is still valuable for describing new species. Sequencing of genetic markers, such as portions of the 16S rRNA gene and other useful genetic elements, is the most common method used for anaerobic identification today in clinical laboratories with molecular-assessment capability. It is clear that anaerobic bacterial protocols occupy a separate and distinct place in clinical microbiology laboratories. Laboratories must determine the extent of effort that they can devote to anaerobes and then develop their processes to perform only those protocols that they can guarantee will yield reliable, timely, and accurate results.

Citation: Baron E. 2011. Approaches to Identification of Anaerobic Bacteria, p 799-802. In Versalovic J, Carroll K, Funke G, Jorgensen J, Landry M, Warnock D (ed), Manual of Clinical Microbiology, 10th Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816728.ch47
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