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J Clin Microbiol. Mar 2001; 39(3): 1021–1024.
PMCID: PMC87867

Evaluation of a Medium (STGG) for Transport and Optimal Recovery of Streptococcus pneumoniae from Nasopharyngeal Secretions Collected during Field Studies

Abstract

Field studies of Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococci) nasopharyngeal (NP) colonization are hampered by the need to directly plate specimens in order to ensure isolate viability. A medium containing skim milk, tryptone, glucose, and glycerin (STGG) has been used to transport and store NP material, but its ability to preserve pneumococci has not been evaluated. Our objective was to qualitatively and semiquantitatively evaluate the ability of STGG to preserve pneumococci in NP secretions. Entwined duplicate calcium alginate NP swab samples were obtained from children. One swab was plated directly onto a gentamicin blood agar plate; the other was placed in STGG. Growth from the directly plated specimen was compared with growth from an STGG aliquot immediately cultured or stored at −70°C for 9 weeks, −20°C for 9 weeks, or 4°C for 5 days. Of 186 specimens, 96 (52%) were positive for pneumococci from the direct plating; 94 (98%) of these were positive from the fresh STGG specimen. Pneumococci were recovered from all 38 positive specimens frozen at −70°C, all 18 positive specimens frozen at −20°C, and 18 of 20 positive specimens stored at 4°C. Recovery of pneumococci after storage of NP material in STGG medium at −70°C is at least as good as that from direct plating. Storage at −20°C is also acceptable. Storage at 4°C for 5 days is not ideal.


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