Laboratory detection of Clostridium difficile. A comparison of media and incubation systems

Am J Clin Pathol. 1995 Jan;103(1):52-6. doi: 10.1093/ajcp/103.1.52.


Parallel testing for culture recovery of Clostridium difficile was performed using three selective media in each of four anaerobic incubation environmental systems. Testing was completed on 67 stool samples from 60 hospitalized patients in whom C difficile-associated diarrhea was suspected. Three different media were evaluated: CCFA (modified cycloserine-cefoxitin-fructose agar), CCFA-PRAS (CCFA, prereduced-anaerobically-sterilized) and CMBA (modified cycloserine-mannitol-blood agar). The incubation systems compared were an anaerobic chamber (Model 800 Anaerobic Environmental System, Anaerobe Systems, San Jose, CA), the anaerobic jar (BBL, Cockeysville, MD), the anaerobic Bio-Bag (BBL), and the anaerobic pouch (BBL). C difficile was found in 16 samples collected from 15 patients. Comparing recovery on the various types of media in all four anaerobic atmospheres, C difficile was recovered on all (64) CCFA plates, 56 of 64 CCFA-PRAS plates, and 43 of 64 CMBA plates (P < .03 comparing CCFA and CMBA). Of the 48 plates in each incubation system that were inoculated with specimens positive for C difficile, the organism was recovered from 43 plates in the anaerobe chamber, 41 incubated in an anaerobe jar, 40 in the Bio-Bag, and 39 incubated in the GasPak pouch, all providing similar recovery of C difficile (P = .08). The CCFA-PRAS and CMBA media demonstrated less inhibition of normal stool flora compared to the CCFA. Overall CCFA that was anaerobically reduced at least 4 hours before use, and contained the original concentration of antimicrobial agents described by George and colleagues, was superior to CMBA for recovery of C. difficile.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Laboratory Techniques / methods*
  • Clostridium difficile / isolation & purification*
  • Culture Media / classification
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Feces / microbiology
  • Humans


  • Culture Media