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J Clin Microbiol. Mar 1981; 13(3): 444–448.
PMCID: PMC273811

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

Abstract

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.

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  • 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]

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