• We are sorry, but NCBI web applications do not support your browser and may not function properly. More information
Logo of jcmPermissionsJournals.ASM.orgJournalJCM ArticleJournal InfoAuthorsReviewers
J Clin Microbiol. Mar 1981; 13(3): 444–448.
PMCID: PMC273811

Rapid method that aids in distinguishing Gram-positive from Gram-negative anaerobic bacteria.


Several species of anaerobic bacteria display variable Gram stain reactions which often make identification difficult. A simple, rapid method utilizing a 3% solution of potassium hydroxide to distinguish between gram-positive and gram-negative bacterial was tested on 213 strains of anaerobic bacteria representing 19 genera. The Gram stain reaction and KOH test results were compared with the antibiotic disk susceptibilities (vancomycin and colistin) the preliminary grouping of anaerobic bacteria. All three procedures were in agreement for the majority of strains examined. Some strains of clostridia, eubacteria, and bifidobacteria stained gram negative or gram variable; the KOH and antibiotic disk susceptibility tests correctly classified these strains as gram-positive. The KOH test incorrectly grouped some strains of Bacteroides sp., Fusobacterium sp., Leptotrichia buccalis, and Veillonella parvula, but all Gram stain results for these strains were consistent for gram-negative bacteria. The KOH test is a useful supplement to the Gram stain and antibiotic disk susceptibility testing for the initial classification of anaerobic bacteria.

Full text

Full text is available as a scanned copy of the original print version. Get a printable copy (PDF file) of the complete article (685K), or click on a page image below to browse page by page. Links to PubMed are also available for Selected References.

Images in this article

Click on the image to see a larger version.

Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Burke V. Notes on the Gram Stain with Description of a New Method. J Bacteriol. 1922 Mar;7(2):159–182. [PMC free article] [PubMed]

Articles from Journal of Clinical Microbiology are provided here courtesy of American Society for Microbiology (ASM)


Related citations in PubMed

See reviews...See all...

Cited by other articles in PMC

See all...


Recent Activity

Your browsing activity is empty.

Activity recording is turned off.

Turn recording back on

See more...