1887

Abstract

Breakthrough contamination of tuberculosis (TB) cultures is a problem in that it allows the overgrowth of another bacterium present in the sputum specimen, which can potentially mask the presence of The aim of this study was to isolate and characterize the bacterial organisms responsible for such overgrowth and contamination, and to examine their susceptibility to (i) various chemical selective decontamination steps and (ii) antibiotics in liquid culture media, in an attempt to develop a method to help alleviate contamination problems associated with the conventional isolation of from routine patient sputum specimens. Bacterial contaminants from 102 routine sputum cultures were identified molecularly by 16S rRNA gene PCR and direct sequencing from contaminated Löwenstein–Jensen (LJ) slopes and BacT/Alert liquid medium. It was found that the contaminants from LJ slopes belonged to 11 different genera and were composed largely of Gram-negative organisms (84.9 %; 45/53), whereas the liquid culture contaminants belonged to 13 different genera, with 37/66 isolates (56.1 %) being Gram-negative. was the dominant contaminant in both media. The effect of six different selective decontamination protocols was examined. Four of the six methods were effective at eliminating all culturable organisms present; these were 5 % oxalic acid, 5 % oxalic acid/2 % NaOH, 5 % oxalic acid/4 % NaOH and 1 % chlorhexidine. NaOH at a concentration of 2 or 4 % was less effective as it was unable to eliminate all organisms of each species tested, with the exception of In conclusion, breakthrough contamination of TB cultures is due to a diverse range of at least 17 different bacterial genera, with and accounting for the dominant contaminating flora. Employment of chemical decontaminating protocols solely involving NaOH may lead to higher rates of contamination. Where such contamination is encountered, TB laboratories should consider the reprocessing of such sputum samples with an alternative decontamination method such as 1 % chlorhexidine.

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2011-09-01
2019-10-21
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