Fully automated liquid culture system compared with Lowenstein-Jensen solid medium for rapid recovery of Mycobacteria in sputums

Seung Kyu Park, Seung Chul Kim, Deuk Mi Kim, Chang Woon Lee, Young Kim, Sang Nae Cho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The Aim of this study was to compare the recovery of mycobacteria from sputum samples of pulmonary tuberculosis patients using the MB/BacT rapid culture system(Organon Teknika, USA) with that obtained using Lowenstein-Jensen solid medium. Methods: The two culture systems were compared using sputum samples of 99 pulmonary tuberculosis patients. Culture media were incubated at 35-37°C for six weeks in the MB/BacT system and for 12 weeks in Lowenstein-Jensen solid medium. Solid media were examined macroscopically once a week, and the MB/BacT system positive vials were unloaded from the machine as soon as possible after positive signal from the connected computer was detected. Confirmation of growth for mycobacteria was done by Ziehl-Neelson stained smears. Isolates were identified to differentiate Mycobactrerium tuberculosis from mycobacterium other than tuberculosis(MOTT) by phenotypic and molecular methods. Results: Of the sputum samples of the 99 patients, 58 samples were smear positive and 41 in negative smear. Mycobacteria were recovered from 67(67.7%) samples by using both culture systems. The yield with MB/BacT was higher than that with Lowenstein-Jensen [67(67.7%) vs. 52(52.5%), p<0.0011. Moreover, 15(15.2%) samples were positive only in the MB/BacT, whereas none of samples was positive only in Lowenstein-Jensen. In smear-positive and smear-negative samples, the recovery rate with MB/BacT was also higher than that with Lowenstein-Jensen [sputum-positive; 56/58(96.6%) vs. 46/58(79.3%), p=0.005, sputum-negative; 6/41(14.6%) vs. 5/41(12.2%), p<0.0011. The mean times to detection of Mycobacteria were 13.3 and 27.2 days with MB/BacT and Lowenstein-Jensen respectively(p<0.001). Conclusions: This results indicate that the the MB/BacT is more efficient and faster than Lowenstein-Jensen for the recovery of mycobacteria.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)635-643
Number of pages9
JournalTuberculosis and Respiratory Diseases
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2002 Dec 1

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Infectious Diseases


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