How are culture media selected in the workup of bacterial gastroenteritis?

Updated: Jul 17, 2018
  • Author: Jennifer Lynn Bonheur, MD; Chief Editor: BS Anand, MD  more...
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A high index of suspicion is needed to choose the appropriate culture medium. Media used to isolate bacteria responsible for gastroenteritis include the following:

  • Blood agar: All aerobic bacteria and yeast; detects cytochrome oxidase production

  • MacConkey EMB agar: Inhibits gram-positive organisms; permits lactose fermentation

  • XLD agar and HE agar: Inhibit gram-positive organisms and nonpathogenic gram-negative bacilli; permit lactose fermentation and H2S production

  • Skirrow agar: Selective for Campylobacter species

  • SM agar: Selective for enterohemorrhagic E coli

  • CIN agar: Selective for Yersinia enterocolitica

  • Thiosulfate-citrate-bile-sucrose (TCBS) agar: Selective for Vibrio species

  • CCFE agar: Selective for C difficile

See Workup for more detail.

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