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J Antimicrob Chemother. 2001 Jul;48 Suppl 1:81-5.

Instrumentation in antimicrobial susceptibility testing.

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GR Micro Ltd, 7-9 William Road, London NW1 3ER, UK.


Studies in the 1960s demonstrated the problems of variability in susceptibility testing methods, especially those affecting the performance of disc diffusion procedures. These studies made apparent the need for standardization and resulted in more clearly defined performance limits for growth medium, incubation conditions, inoculum concentration, disc content for diffusion methods, the setting of interpretative MIC breakpoints and the establishment of quality control parameters. More recently, there has been a growing interest in the use of instrumentation for reading disc diffusion tests and the endpoints of agar or broth dilution MIC determinations. Instrumentation ranges in complexity from the simple optical reading of zones of inhibition or growth endpoints, requiring operator interpretation, to more sophisticated devices for reading, recording and 'expert system' analysis of results with interfacing of instruments to laboratory information management systems. Some of the more developed systems are fully automated and can also identify the organisms tested. The pressure to reduce labour costs and provide results earlier favours the use of more automated systems whilst the requirement for resistance surveillance provides impetus for the use of systems that provide quantitative results and electronic data handling.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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