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J Clin Microbiol. 1986 Mar;23(3):500-4.

Gellan gum as a substitute for agar in leptospiral media.


An albumin polysorbate semisolid medium (Ellinghausen McCullough Johnson Harris medium) gelled with gellan gum (Gelrite; Kelco Div., Merck & Co., Inc.) compared favorably with conventional agar media for the cultivation of both pathogenic and saprophytic leptospires. The gellan gum medium supported the growth of all 18 leptospiral strains studied which included an array of serovars with various fastidious growth characteristics. Gellan gum medium was also used advantageously as a long-term maintenance medium; 9- to 12-month-old cultures still contained viable organisms. The colonial growth in gellan gum plating medium of six representative strains was consistent with previously described colonial growth on agar plating media. In addition, gellan gum medium appeared to be an excellent medium for the recovery of leptospires from the blood, liver, and kidneys of hamsters experimentally infected with a virulent Leptospira interrogans serovar bataviae strain. As few as 1 to 10 organisms in the infective tissue could be recovered in semisolid Ellinghausen McCullough Johnson Harris-gellan gum medium. The antigenicity did not appear to be affected by growth in gellan gum medium. The hamster-virulent strain of L. interrogans serovar bataviae isolated from a moribund hamster maintained its virulence after 10 sequential passages in gellan gum medium. Gellan gum medium can be a valuable adjunct to currently used cultural procedures.

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