Direct antimicrobial drug susceptibility testing of Mycobacterium tuberculosis by the radiometric method

Diagn Microbiol Infect Dis. 1988 May;10(1):41-8. doi: 10.1016/0732-8893(88)90125-3.


Direct-drug-susceptibility tests were performed on clinical specimens positive for acid-fast bacilli by either Ziehl-Neelsen or fluorochrome staining. The results of conventional agar dilution (Vestal, 1975) and a modified radiometric (BACTEC) method were compared. A total of 580 smear-positive specimens were tested by the BACTEC method at three separate sites. Three hundred and seventy-seven of these were culture positive for M. tuberculosis, and 343 (91%) yielded acceptable direct-susceptibility-test results. We used the conventional method to determine that 343 of 519 smear-positive specimens were culture positive for M. tuberculosis, and 212 (62%) produced acceptable results within 3 wks. Conventional results were reported in 3-4 wks, while the time required to obtain results with the BACTEC method ranged from 5 to 21 days (average 11.5 days). Results indicate that the radiometric method provides reportable results more frequently with time savings as compared to the conventional method.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Bacteriological Techniques
  • Ethambutol / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Isoniazid / pharmacology
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests*
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis / drug effects*
  • Radiometry / methods
  • Rifampin / pharmacology
  • Sputum / analysis
  • Streptomycin / pharmacology


  • Ethambutol
  • Isoniazid
  • Rifampin
  • Streptomycin