Application of chromogenic media for preliminary identification of acid-resistant bacteria

Int J Mycobacteriol. 2023 Jan-Mar;12(1):49-54. doi: 10.4103/ijmy.ijmy_6_23.


Background: The variety of morphological and cultural characteristics of acid-resistant bacteria (ARB) makes it possible to use microscopy and estimate the growth rate and pigment formation when cultivating on solid egg media for preliminary identification only as additional indicative methods. It is necessary to develop new approaches for the cultivation and primary identification of ARB isolated from the biological material. It will allow to obtain data on the prevalence, structure, epidemiological, and clinical features of infectious processes caused by opportunistic ARB.

Methods: Three hundred and sixty strains of ARB were isolated from the various biological materials obtained from the patients during the examination for tuberculosis. All biological material samples were negative on Mycobacteria tuberculosis complex. Species identification of all bacteria was performed by matrix-assisted lazer desorption/ion-ization time-of-flight mass spectrometry. The cultural characteristics of ARB were evaluated on a universal chromogenic media. As a selective additive, a mixture of bacitracin and polymyxin sulfate which had no effect on ARB was tested to suppress concomitant Gram-positive and Gram-negative microflora.

Results: Cultural characteristics were identified and described for all tested representatives of fast-growing nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM), as well as for all types of nocardia, gordonia, and streptomycetes. Representatives of other genera of ARB on a universal chromogenic media gave meager growth or did not show it at all. When inoculated on a universal chromogenic media with a selective addition, 100% of the strains from the ARB group showed abundant or moderate growth. Incubation time for fast-growing species was up to 7 days; for slow-growing species, it was up to 28 days. Concomitant control strains of Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria on universal chromogenic media with selective growth additive did not show the growth.

Conclusions: The use of a universal chromogenic media allows to preliminarily identify NTM and other ARB by cultural characteristics. The addition of bacitracin and polymyxin sulfate does not reduce the growth properties of ARB, which can be used when working with both biological materials and for the isolation of pure ARB cultures from mixtures with other bacteria.

Keywords: Acid-resistant bacteria; chromogenic media; nontuberculous mycobacteria.

MeSH terms

  • Angiotensin Receptor Antagonists
  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology
  • Bacitracin
  • Culture Media / chemistry
  • Gram-Negative Bacteria
  • Gram-Positive Bacteria
  • Humans
  • Mycobacterium*
  • Nontuberculous Mycobacteria
  • Tuberculosis* / microbiology


  • Angiotensin Receptor Antagonists
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Bacitracin
  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Culture Media