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J Appl Microbiol. 2007 Dec;103(6):2046-55.

The application of chromogenic media in clinical microbiology.

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Microbiology Department, Freeman Hospital, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK.


Since 1990, a wide range of chromogenic culture media has been made commercially available providing useful tools for diagnostic clinical microbiology. By the inclusion of chromogenic enzyme substrates targeting microbial enzymes, such media are able to target pathogens with high specificity. Examples of target pathogens include Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus agalactiae, Salmonella spp. and Candida spp. The inclusion of multiple chromogenic substrates into culture media facilitates the differentiation of polymicrobial cultures, thus allowing for the development of improved media for diagnosis of urinary tract infections and media for the enhanced discrimination of yeasts. The purpose of this review is to provide some insight into how such media work and appraise their utility in routine clinical diagnostics, in comparison with conventional media.

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