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J Clin Diagn Res. 2012 Dec;6(10):1704-9. doi: 10.7860/JCDR/2012/4603.2635. Epub 2012 Dec 15.

Comparison of the Lowenstein-Jensen Medium, the Middlebrook 7H10 Medium and MB/BacT for the Isolation of Mycobacterium Tuberculosis (MTB) from Clinical Specimens.

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Assistant Professor, Department of Microbiology, Travancore Medical College , Medicity, NH bypass, Mylapore,Umayanalloor, P O Kollam 691589, kerala, India.



Tuberculosis (TB) is the most common cause of death due to a single infectious agent worldwide in adults. India alone accounts for 30% of the global tuberculosis burden. There is a need for a method of cultivation of mycobacteria that is reliable and economical and has a short turnaround time.


The present study was attempted to assess the feasibility of using MB BACT and Middlebrook 7h10(MB7H10) as primary isolation media for mycobacteria. They were compared with the LJ medium, which was the gold standard.


Various clinical specimens from a total of 236 clinically suspected cases of TB were studied. All the samples were decontaminated by using the modified Petroff's method. Each sample was subjected to ZN staining and it was simultaneously inoculated onto the LJ medium, the MB7H10 medium and MB BACT. The growth from the cultures were confirmed by ZN staining and they were speciated by using biochemical reactions.


Out of the 236 samples which were screened, 116 isolates were obtained. All the 116 were isolated from MB BACT, 82 were isolated from the LJ medium and 62 were isolated from MB7H10. 82 isolates were obtained from MB BACT and the LJ medium, 62 were obtained from MB7H10 and MB BACT, 58 were isolated from LJ and MB7H10 and 58 were isolated from LJ medium, MB7H10 and MB bact. Neither the L J medium nor the Middlebrook 7h 10 medium could isolate mycobacteria exclusively. It showed that the combination of media did not prove to be superior over the use of MB BACT alone. The average isolation time of L J, the MB7H10 medium and MB BACT was 30.81 days, 31.06 days and 18.70 days.


MB BACT is a better medium as compared to the L J medium and the MB7H10 medium, both in terms of the number of isolates and the isolation rate. The MB BACT method proved to be a very speedy method and it could isolate mycobacteria 7-10 days earlier as compared to the L J medium and the Middlebrook 7 H10 medium.


MB BACT; MB7H10 medium; Mycobacterium tuberculosis

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