SUMMARY: We compared four decontamination methods for the isolation of mycobacteria from soil specimens. Different media were used: Löwenstein-Jensen, Ogawa and various modified Ogawa media. Statistical analysis demonstrated that the best results (low contamination and high positivity rates) were obtained when the specimens were incubated in trypticase soy broth, treated with solutions containing malachite green and cycloheximide, then decontaminated with sodium hydroxide and inoculated onto Ogawa media. The lowest contamination rates were obtained with Ogawa medium containing 500 μg cycloheximide ml. The use of these techniques is proposed for the isolation of mycobacteria from heavily contaminated clinical specimens as well as from soil.


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