Rapid automated methods (BACTEC System) in clinical mycobacteriology

Semin Respir Infect. 1986 Dec;1(4):242-9.


By using radiometric techniques, it is now possible to measure mycobacterial growth, to identify organisms as part of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex, and to perform drug susceptibility testing in a matter of days rather than weeks or months. The method is based on the elaboration of radiolabeled carbon dioxide (C14O2) by metabolically active mycobacteria that consume an exclusive carbohydrate substrate containing the labelled carbon. Field studies have shown the method to be sensitive and accurate; however, due to the expense of the system and some technical limitations, it is primarily suitable for use in large laboratories. The means by which it complements and strengthens a mycobacterial laboratory are discussed herein.

MeSH terms

  • Bacteriological Techniques / economics
  • Bacteriological Techniques / instrumentation*
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests / instrumentation
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis / drug effects
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis / isolation & purification*