Semiquantitative oropharyngeal culture technique

Appl Microbiol. 1970 Aug;20(2):218-23.


A semiquantitative method for determining the concentration of organisms constituting the normal oropharyngeal flora has been developed. Eleven species of organisms were isolated from the 18 subjects studied. The concentration of organisms in multiple samples, taken at 5-min intervals, was quite similar. The concentration of organisms increased slightly at the end of the day. Obtaining specimens on different days of the week did not appreciably affect the concentration or kinds of organisms. Eating had only a minimal effect on the oropharyngeal flora, but brushing teeth reduced the concentration of organisms substantially. When specimens were obtained 6 months after the initial specimens, the concentration of organisms remained the same but the species of organisms isolated varied considerably. The gargle method was compared to a swab method and proved to be superior. This method of obtaining oropharyngeal culture specimens is reliable and useful as a means of monitoring the normal oropharyngeal flora.

MeSH terms

  • Agar
  • Animals
  • Bacteria / isolation & purification*
  • Blood
  • Candida / isolation & purification*
  • Eating
  • Humans
  • Isotonic Solutions
  • Mouth / microbiology*
  • Pharynx / microbiology*
  • Sheep
  • Sodium Chloride
  • Specimen Handling
  • Statistics as Topic
  • Time Factors
  • Toothbrushing


  • Isotonic Solutions
  • Sodium Chloride
  • Agar