Chapter 4 : Bactec Blood Culture Systems

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In the mid-1950s Dr. William Johnston and colleagues from Purdue University founded a company that specialized in developing instruments to detect very low levels of carbon-14, which were marketed for use in air quality testing. In the late 1950s, the company was sold to an investor who took it in the direction of seeking government contracts to study beta radiation and develop sensitive detection devices. The desire to transition the business to development of commercial products for the private sector led to a collaboration with scientists at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the development of the Bactec 110 ( Fig. 1A ), the company’s prototype bacterial detection system. The instrument accommodated 10 sample bottles on a rotatory device and utilized a dual-needle adaptor to penetrate the rubber septum and sample headspace gas from bottles. The technology was based on Johnston’s tritium air monitor, detecting carbon-14-labeled CO produced by bacteria from radiolabeled substrates in the medium ( ).

Citation: Chamberland R. 2017. Bactec Blood Culture Systems, p 59-83. In Dunne, Jr. W, Burnham C (ed), The Dark Art of Blood Cultures. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555819811.ch4
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Image of FIGURE 1

Year of introduction of Bactec blood culture instruments: 110 , 225 , 301 , 460 , NR-660 , NR-860 , 9240 , and FX .

Citation: Chamberland R. 2017. Bactec Blood Culture Systems, p 59-83. In Dunne, Jr. W, Burnham C (ed), The Dark Art of Blood Cultures. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555819811.ch4
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Image of FIGURE 2

Examples of reports available using EpiCenter. Blood Volume Distribution Histogram returns number of bottles ( axis) for each blood volume estimate ( axis), shown for two hospital services. Blood Volume Box Plot displays median (square), minimum, maximum, 25th, and 75th percentile blood collection volume ( axis) by hospital service ( axis). Volume Summary contains mean volume by group or individual, along with standard deviation, confidence interval, and number of events during the chosen timeframe.

Citation: Chamberland R. 2017. Bactec Blood Culture Systems, p 59-83. In Dunne, Jr. W, Burnham C (ed), The Dark Art of Blood Cultures. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555819811.ch4
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1. Dunne W,, LaRocco M . 2001. Blood culture systems, p 189 209. In Laboratory Diagnosis of Bacterial Infections. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL.
2. BD Diagnostics . 2008. TechniTopics BD BACTEC Blood Culture Systems celebrating 40 years of leadership in blood culturing. BD LabO 19 : 2. https://www.bd.com/ds/learningCenter/labo/nl_labo_222788.pdf
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6. Beckwith DG . 1979. Detection of group D and viridans streptococci in blood by radiometric methods. J Clin Microbiol 9 : 20 22.
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8. DeBlanc HJ Jr,, DeLand F,, Wagner HN Jr . 1971. Automated radiometric detection of bacteria in 2,967 blood cultures. Appl Microbiol 22 : 846 849.
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10. Wood NG . 1976. Comparative study of two systems for detecting becteraemia and septicaemia. J Clin Pathol 29 : 530 533.
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12. Smith JA,, Roberts FJ,, Ngui-Yen J . 1983. Comparison of a radiometric and a broth-slide system for aerobic blood culture. J Clin Microbiol 18 : 217 218.
13. Ganguli LA,, Keaney MG,, Hyde WA,, Fraser SB . 1985. More rapid identification of bacteraemia by manual rather than radiometric method. J Clin Pathol 38 : 1146 1149.
14. Kellogg JA,, Manzella JP,, McConville JH . 1984. Clinical laboratory comparison of the 10-ml isolator blood culture system with BACTEC radiometric blood culture media. J Clin Microbiol 20 : 618 623.
15. Craven DE,, Lichtenberg DA,, Browne KF,, Coffey DM,, Treadwell TL,, McCabe WR . 1984. Pseudobacteremia traced to cross-contamination by an automated blood culture analyzer. Infect Control 5 : 75 78.
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17. Vannier AM,, Tarrand JJ,, Murray PR . 1988. Mycobacterial cross contamination during radiometric culturing. J Clin Microbiol 26 : 1867 1868.
18. Jungkind D,, Millan J,, Allen S,, Dyke J,, Hill E . 1986. Clinical comparison of a new automated infrared blood culture system with the BACTEC 460 system. J Clin Microbiol 23 : 262 266.
19. Anderson JD,, Trombley C,, Cimolai N . 1989. Assessment of the BACTEC NR660 blood culture system for the detection of bacteremia in young children. J Clin Microbiol 27 : 721 723.
20. Thorpe TC,, Wilson ML,, Turner JE,, DiGuiseppi JL,, Willert M,, Mirrett S,, Reller LB . 1990. BacT/Alert: an automated colorimetric microbial detection system. J Clin Microbiol 28 : 1608 1612.
21. Riest G,, Linde HJ,, Shah PM . 1997. Comparison of BacT/Alert and BACTEC NR 860 blood culture systems in a laboratory not continuously staffed. Clin Microbiol Infect 3 : 345 351.
22. Nolte FS,, Williams JM,, Jerris RC,, Morello JA,, Leitch CD,, Matushek S,, Schwabe LD,, Dorigan F,, Kocka FE . 1993. Multicenter clinical evaluation of a continuous monitoring blood culture system using fluorescent-sensor technology (BACTEC 9240). J Clin Microbiol 31 : 552 557.
23. Smith JA,, Bryce EA,, Ngui-Yen JH,, Roberts FJ . 1995. Comparison of BACTEC 9240 and BacT/Alert blood culture systems in an adult hospital. J Clin Microbiol 33 : 1905 1908.
24. Pohlman JK,, Kirkley BA,, Easley KA,, Basille BA,, Washington JA . 1995. Controlled clinical evaluation of BACTEC Plus Aerobic/F and BacT/Alert Aerobic FAN bottles for detection of bloodstream infections. J Clin Microbiol 33 : 2856 2858.
25. Mirrett S,, Reller LB,, Petti CA,, Woods CW,, Vazirani B,, Sivadas R,, Weinstein MP . 2003. Controlled clinical comparison of BacT/ALERT standard aerobic medium with BACTEC standard aerobic medium for culturing blood. J Clin Microbiol 41 : 2391 2394.
26. Gray J,, Brockwell M,, Das I . 1998. Experience of changing between signal and Bactec 9240 blood culture systems in a children’s hospital. J Clin Pathol 51 : 302 305.
27. Chapin K,, Lauderdale TL . 1996. Comparison of Bactec 9240 and Difco ESP blood culture systems for detection of organisms from vials whose entry was delayed. J Clin Microbiol 34 : 543 549.
28. Dreyer AW,, Ismail NA,, Nkosi D,, Lindeque K,, Matthews M,, van Zyl DG,, Hoosen AA . 2011. Comparison of the VersaTREK blood culture system against the Bactec9240 system in patients with suspected bloodstream infections. Ann Clin Microbiol Antimicrob 10 : 4. doi:10.1186/1476-0711-10-4.
29. Roh KH,, Kim JY,, Kim HN,, Lee HJ,, Sohn JW,, Kim MJ,, Cho Y,, Kim YK,, Lee CK . 2012. Evaluation of BACTEC Plus aerobic and anaerobic blood culture bottles and BacT/Alert FAN aerobic and anaerobic blood culture bottles for the detection of bacteremia in ICU patients. Diagn Microbiol Infect Dis 73 : 239 242.
30. Fiori B,, D’Inzeo T,, Di Florio V,, De Maio F,, De Angelis G,, Giaquinto A,, Campana L,, Tanzarella E,, Tumbarello M,, Antonelli M,, Sanguinetti M,, Spanu T . 2014. Performance of two resin-containing blood culture media in detection of bloodstream infections and in direct matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization-time of flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) broth assays for isolate identification: clinical comparison of the BacT/Alert Plus and Bactec Plus systems. J Clin Microbiol 52 : 3558 3567.
31. Miller NS,, Rogan D,, Orr BL,, Whitney D . 2011. Comparison of BD Bactec Plus blood culture media to VersaTREK Redox blood culture media for detection of bacterial pathogens in simulated adult blood cultures containing therapeutic concentrations of antibiotics. J Clin Microbiol 49 : 1624 1627.
32. Bonilla H,, Zervos M,, Saravolatz LD . 2011. Comparison of BACTEC™ plus Aerobic/F and VersaTREK REDOX(®) blood culture media for the recovery of Staphylococcus aureus from patients with suspected persistent bacteremia. J Infect 63 : 89 90.
33. Prevost E,, Bannister E . 1981. Detection of yeast septicemia by biphasic and radiometric methods. J Clin Microbiol 13 : 655 660.
34. Riedel S,, Eisinger SW,, Dam L,, Stamper PD,, Carroll KC . 2011. Comparison of BD Bactec Plus Aerobic/F medium to VersaTREK Redox 1 blood culture medium for detection of Candida spp. in seeded blood culture specimens containing therapeutic levels of antifungal agents. J Clin Microbiol 49 : 1524 1529.
35. Horvath LL,, George BJ,, Murray CK,, Harrison LS,, Hospenthal DR . 2004. Direct comparison of the BACTEC 9240 and BacT/ALERT 3D automated blood culture systems for Candida growth detection. J Clin Microbiol 42 : 115 118.
36. Waite RT,, Woods GL . 1998. Evaluation of BACTEC MYCO/F lytic medium for recovery of mycobacteria and fungi from blood. J Clin Microbiol 36 : 1176 1179.
37. Ramanan P,, Vetter EA,, Milone AA,, Patel R,, Wengenack NL . 2016. Comparison of BACTEC MYCO/F Lytic bottle to the Wampole Isolator for recovery of fungal and mycobacterial organisms. Open Forum Infect Dis 3 : 1557. doi:10.1093/ofid/ofw172.1258
38. Campigotto A,, Richardson SE,, Sebert M,, McElvania TeKippe E,, Chakravarty A,, Doern CD . 2016. Low utility of pediatric isolator blood culture system for detection of fungemia in children: a 10-year review. J Clin Microbiol 54 : 2284 2287.
39. Strand CL,, Epstein C,, Verzosa S,, Effatt E,, Hormozi P,, Siddiqi SH . 1989. Evaluation of a new blood culture medium for mycobacteria. Am J Clin Pathol 91 : 316 318.
40. Crump JA,, Tanner DC,, Mirrett S,, McKnight CM,, Reller LB . 2003. Controlled comparison of BACTEC 13A, MYCO/F LYTIC, BacT/ALERT MB, and ISOLATOR 10 systems for detection of mycobacteremia. J Clin Microbiol 41 : 1987 1990.
41. Fuller DD,, Davis TE . 1997. Comparison of BACTEC plus Aerobic/F, Anaerobic/F, Peds Plus/F, and Lytic/F media with and without fastidious organism supplement to conventional methods for culture of sterile body fluids. Diagn Microbiol Infect Dis 29 : 219 225.
42. Akcam FZ,, Yayli G,, Uskun E,, Kaya O,, Demir C . 2006. Evaluation of the Bactec microbial detection system for culturing miscellaneous sterile body fluids. Res Microbiol 157 : 433 436.
43. Yagupsky P,, Dagan R,, Howard CW,, Einhorn M,, Kassis I,, Simu A . 1992. High prevalence of Kingella kingae in joint fluid from children with septic arthritis revealed by the BACTEC blood culture system. J Clin Microbiol 30 : 1278 1281.


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Table 1

Comprehensive list of media types developed for BACTEC blood culture systems

Citation: Chamberland R. 2017. Bactec Blood Culture Systems, p 59-83. In Dunne, Jr. W, Burnham C (ed), The Dark Art of Blood Cultures. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555819811.ch4

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