Comparison of methods for tuberculosis bacteriology

Appl Microbiol. 1969 Nov;18(5):915-7. doi: 10.1128/am.18.5.915-917.1969.


To improve efficiency of isolation of tubercle bacilli from clinical specimens, the following recommendations are presented. (i) Employ multiple specimens consisting of a combination of morning sputums for the early detection of positives, along with 24-hr sputum pools for the greatest total yield of positives. (ii) When timing is rigorously controlled, Zephiran-trisodium phosphate and sodium hydroxide-acetylcysteine are comparable, but if timing cannot rigidly be controlled, employ the Zephiran-trisodium phosphate digestion procedure to allow the greatest freedom in exposure time with the lowest kill rate to tubercle bacilli. (iii) Employ both an agar medium incubated in 5% CO(2), for the early detection of positives as well as positives in the presence of contaminants, and an egg medium, preferably with CO(2), to increase the yield of positives.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Agar
  • Bacteriological Techniques*
  • Benzalkonium Compounds / pharmacology
  • Culture Media
  • Cysteine / pharmacology
  • Eggs
  • Humans
  • Hydroxides / pharmacology
  • Methods
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis / drug effects
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis / isolation & purification*
  • Phosphates / pharmacology
  • Sodium / pharmacology
  • Sputum / microbiology*


  • Benzalkonium Compounds
  • Culture Media
  • Hydroxides
  • Phosphates
  • Agar
  • Sodium
  • Cysteine