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J Clin Microbiol. 1994 Aug;32(8):1923-9.

CHROMagar Candida, a new differential isolation medium for presumptive identification of clinically important Candida species.

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Department of Bacteriology and Mycology, Janssen Research Foundation, Beerse, Belgium.


CHROMagar Candida is a novel, differential culture medium that is claimed to facilitate the isolation and presumptive identification of some clinically important yeast species. We evaluated the use of this medium with 726 yeast isolates, including 82 isolated directly on the medium from clinical material. After 2 days of incubation at 37 degrees C, 285 C. albicans isolates gave distinctive green colonies that were not seen with any of 441 other yeast isolates representing 21 different species. A total of 54 C. tropicalis isolates also developed distinctive dark blue-gray colonies with a halo of dark brownish purple in the surrounding agar. C. krusei isolates (n = 43) also formed highly characteristic rough, spreading colonies with pale pink centers and a white edge that was otherwise encountered only rarely with isolates of C. norvegensis. Trichosporon spp. (n = 34) formed small, pale colonies that became larger and characteristically rough with prolonged incubation. Most of the other 310 yeasts studied formed colonies with a color that ranged from white to pink to purple with a brownish tint. The only exceptions were found among isolates identified as Geotrichum sp. or Pichia sp., some of which formed colonies with a gray to blue color and which in two instances formed a green pigment or a dark halo in the agar. The specificity and sensitivity of the new medium for the presumptive identification of C. albicans, C. krusei, and C. tropicalis exceeded 99% for all three species. A blinded reading test involving four personnel and 57 yeast isolates representing nine clinically important species confirmed that colonial appearance after 48 h of incubation on CHROMagar Candida afforded the correct presumptive recognition of C. albicans, C. tropicalis, C, krusei, and Trichosporon spp. None of nine bacterial isolates grew on CHROMagar Candida within 72 h, and bacteria (Escherichia coli) grew from only 4 of 104 vaginal, 100 oral, and 99 anorectal swabs. The new medium supported the growth of 19 of 23 dermatophyte fungi tested and 41 of 43 other molds representing a broad range of fungal pathogens and contaminants. In parallel cultures of 348 clinical specimens set up on Sabourand agar and CHROMagar Candida, both media grew yeasts in the same 78 instances. CHROMagar Candida is recommended as a useful isolation medium capable of the presumptive identification of the yeast species most commonly isolated from clinical material and facilitating recognition of mixed yeast cultures.

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