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MODULEBacterial Identification TestsMicrobiology11BACTERIAL IDENTIFICATIONTESTSNotes11.1 INTRODUCTIONIn the previous chapter we have discussed various methods of isolation ofbacteria. The bacteria thus isolated needs to be further identified to genus andspecies level. The identification is required so as to cure the illness or theinfection caused due to the bacteria by using appropriate antibiotics. Identificationalso holds significance for epidemiological purposes.OBJECTIVESAfter reading this chapter, you will be able to :z describe the processes involved in the identification of bacteria.z explain the significance of microscopy in the process of identification ofbacteria.z explain the significance of biochemical test in the process of identificationof bacteria.z describe the significance of serology in the process of identification ofbacteria.z describe the significance of phage typing in the process of identification ofbacteria.z explain the significance of antimicrobial susceptibility testing in the processof identification of bacteria11.2 BACTERIAL IDENTIFICATIONThe isolated bacteria are further processed through one or few of the proceduresmentioned below so as to identify the bacteria122zStaining of the isolated bacteriazMotility testingMICROBIOLOGY

Bacterial Identification TestsMODULEzBiochemical testingMicrobiologyzSerological testszPhage typingzIdentification disc testingzSemiautomated and Automated identification systemszMolecular techniquesNotes(i) Staining of the isolated bacteriaStaining of the bacteria forms the foremost and the most important step in theidentification of bacteria. The isolated bacteria are stained by various methodsdepending upon the bacteria in focus. Various staining techniques are as follow1. Gram staining: differentiates bacteria into two typesGram positive and Gram negative bacteriaGram positive bacteria can be either cocci or bacilli or vibrios. Grampositive pathogenic bacteria are staphylococci, streptococci, pneumococci,etcGram negative bacteria can be either cocci or bacilli. Gram negativepathogenic bacteria commonly encountered are E.coli, Klebsiella, Salmonellaspp, shigella, etc2. Albert staining: is performed in case if one suspects a Corynebacteriumspp.3. Acid fast staining: is performed in cases suspected of Mycobacterialinfection. Eg. Tuberculosis, leprosy, etc.4. Special staining is necessary in case of spirochetes and other organisms.INTEXT QUESTIONS 11.11. . of bacteria is the important step in identification of bacteria2. Gram stain differentiates bacteria as . & .3. . staining is used in Identification of Corynebacterium spp4. . staining is used in identification of Mycobacterial infection5. ., . & . are examples of GramPositive Bacteria6. ., . & . are examples of GramNegative BacteriaMICROBIOLOGY123

MODULEMicrobiologyBacterial Identification Tests(ii) Motility testingMotility testing is performed by preparing a wet mount and is then observedunder the microscope. Motility of bacteria can also be tested by inoculating thebacteria in the semisolid motility medium.(iii) Biochemical testsNotesThe staining is followed by use of various biochemical reagents and tests to getcloser to the identification of bacteria. There are many biochemical testsavailable for bacterial identification. Few of them are required to be carried outdepending upon the bacteria. The commonly used biochemical tests are asmentioned below(a) Catalase test(b) Coagulase test(c) Oxidase test(d) Sugar fermentation test(e) Indole test(f) Citrate test(g) Urease test(a) Catalase testPurposeThe catalase test facilitates the detection of the enzyme catalase in bacteria. Itis essential for differentiating catalase-positive Micrococcaceae from catalasenegative Streptococcaceae. While it is primarily useful in differentiating betweengenera, it is also valuable in speciation of certain gram positives suchas Aerococcus urinae (positive) from Aerococcus viridians (negative) and gramnegative organisms such as Campylobacter fetus, Campylobacter jejuni,and Campylobacter coli (all positive) from other Campylobacter species.Procedure:Place a microscope slide inside a petri dish. Keep the petri dish cover available.Using a sterile inoculating loop or wooden applicator stick, collect a smallamount of organism from a well-isolated 18- to 24-hour colony and place it ontothe microscope slide. Be careful not to pick up any agar. This is particularlyimportant if the colony isolate was grown on agar containing red blood cells.Carryover of red blood cells into the test may result in a false-positive reaction.Using a dropper or Pasteur pipette, place 1 drop of 3% H2O2 onto the organismon the microscope slide. Do not mix. Immediately cover the petri dish with a124MICROBIOLOGY

MODULEBacterial Identification Testslid to limit aerosols and observe for immediate bubble formation (O2 water bubbles). Observing for the formation of bubbles against a dark backgroundenhances readability.MicrobiologyNotesFig. 11.1Catalase positive bacteria: Staphylococcus sppCatalase negative bacteria: Streptococcus sppb. Coagulase testPurposeThe coagulase test differentiates strains of Staphylococcus aureus from othercoagulase-negative species. S. aureus strains are capable of coagulating plasmain the tube test and will produce clumps of cells in the slide test.The coagulase test can be performed using two different procedures - Slide testand tube test. The slide test is simple, giving results within 10 seconds, but itcan give false negatives. The tube test is the definitive test, however, it can takeup to 24 hours to complete. For both tests, clumping or clots of any size indicatea positive response. While S. aureus is the most commonly isolated coagulasepositive organism, there are several other species of Staphylococcus which arepositive for coagulase activity. S. schleiferi and S. lugdunensis may give positiveresults in the slide test for bound coagulase, and S. schleiferi and S.intermedius may give positive results in the tube coagulase test .Procedure:The slide test is performed by preparing a suspension of bacterial cells mixedinto a drop of rabbit plasma on a microscope slide. If bound coagulase is presenton the bacterial cells, then the presence of plasma will cause the bacterial cellsto clump. The clumping will occur because the clumping factor is an adhesin,which causes the cells to bind to fibrinogen in the plasma. This will result invisible clumping of bacterial cells on the microscope slide. Figure given belowillustrates the visible clumping of cells on the microscope slide.MICROBIOLOGY125

MODULEBacterial Identification TestsMicrobiologyNotesFig. 11.2: Slide coagulase test.The tube coagulase test is performed by mixing bacterial cells into a largervolume of plasma in a small test tube. As the bacteria multiply in the plasma,they secrete staphylocoagulase. Staphylocoagulase initiates blood coagulationby activating prothrombin. Staphylocoagulase adheres to fibrinogen, forming acomplex that cleaves fibrinogen into fibrin, bypassing the blood clotting cascadeand directly causing a clot of fibrin to form. Formation of a clot will be notedwithin 24 hours for a positive response. Figure shows a negative reaction anda positive reaction.Fig. 11.3: Tube coagulase test.Coagulase positive bacteria: Staphylococcus aureusCoagulase negative bacteria: Staphylococcus epidermis, StaphylococcussaprophyticusINTEXT QUESTIONS 11.21. Motility of bacteria can be tested by inoculating the bacteria in .medium2. Catalast test is primarily useful in differentiating between .3. Example of catalase positive bacteria is .126MICROBIOLOGY

MODULEBacterial Identification Tests4. In coagulast test . is formed in slide test and . is producedin tube test.Microbiology5. . is the most common coagulase positive organism(c) Oxidase testPurposeThe oxidase test is a biochemical reaction that assays for the presence ofcytochrome oxidase, an enzyme sometimes called indophenol oxidase. In thepresence of an organism that contains the cytochrome oxidase enzyme, thereduced colorless reagent becomes an oxidized colored product.NotesProcedureThere are many method variations to the oxidase test. These include, but are notlimited to, the filter paper test, filter paper spot test, direct plate method, and testtube method.Filter Paper Test Method1. Soak a small piece of filter paper in 1% Kovács oxidase reagent and letdry.2. Use a loop and pick a well-isolated colony from a fresh (18- to 24-hourculture) bacterial plate and rub onto treated filter paper.3. Observe for color changes.4. Microorganisms are oxidase positive when the color changes to dark purplewithin 5 to 10 seconds. Microorganisms are delayed oxidase positive whenthe color changes to purple within 60 to 90 seconds. Microorganisms areoxidase negative if the color does not change or it takes longer than 2minutes.Fig. 11.4Oxidase positive bacteria : Pseudomonas, Vibrio choleraOxidase negative bacteria: E. coli, Klebsiell, Salmonella.MICROBIOLOGY127

MODULEMicrobiologyBacterial Identification Tests(d) Indole testPurposeThe indole test screens for the ability of an organism to degrade the amino acidtryptophan and produce indole. It is used as part of the IMViC (indole, MR-VpCitrate) procedures, a battery of tests designed to distinguish among membersof the family Enterobacteriaceae.NotesProcedureInoculate the tube of tryptone broth with a small amount of a pure culture.Incubate at 37 C for 24 to 48 hours.To test for indole production, add 5 drops of Kovác's reagent directly to the tube.A positive indole test is indicated by the formation of a pink to red color (“cherryred ring”) in the reagent layer on top of the medium within seconds of addingthe reagent.If a culture is indole negative, the reagent layer will remain yellow or be slightlycloudy.Indole positive bacteria : E. coli, Vibrio choleraIndole negative bacteria : Klebsiella, Salmonella, Shigella spp.Fig. 11.5(e) Citrate TestPurposeThe citrate test screens a bacterial isolate for the ability to utilize citrate as itscarbon and energy source. A positive diagnostic test rests on the generation ofalkaline by-products of citrate metabolism. The subsequent increase in the pHof the medium is demonstrated by the color change of a pH indicator.128MICROBIOLOGY

MODULEBacterial Identification TestsThe citrate test is often part of a battery of tests used to identify gram-negativepathogens and environmental isolates.MicrobiologyProcedureUse a fresh (16- to 18-hour) pure culture as an inoculation source. Pick a singleisolated colony and lightly streak the surface of the slant. A needle is thepreferred sampling tool in order to limit the amount of cell material transferredto the agar slant. Avoid using liquid cultures as the inoculum source. Citrateutilization requires oxygen and thus screw caps, if used, should be placed looselyon the tube. Incubate at 35oC ( /- 2oC) for 18 to 48 hours. Some organisms mayrequire up to 7 days of incubation due to their limited rate of growth on citratemedium.NotesCitrate positive: growth will be visible on the slant surface and the medium willbe an intense Prussian blue. The alkaline carbonates and bicarbonates producedas by-products of citrate catabolism raise the pH of the medium to above 7.6,causing the bromothymol blue to change from the original green color to blue.Citrate negative: trace or no growth will be visible. No color change will occur;the medium will remain the deep forest green color of the uninoculated agar.Only bacteria that can utilize citrate as the sole carbon and energy source willbe able to grow on the Simmons citrate medium, thus a citrate-negative testculture will be virtually indistinguishable from an uninoculated slant.Citrate positive bacteria: Klebsiella spp.Citrate negative bacteria: E. coli.Fig. 11.6(f) Urease testPurposeThe urease test identifies those organisms that are capable of hydrolyzing ureato produce ammonia and carbon dioxide. It is primarily used to distinguishurease-positive bacteria from other Enterobacteriaceae.MICROBIOLOGY129

MODULEMicrobiologyBacterial Identification TestsProcedureChristensen’s Urea Agar (4, 5)NotesUse a heavy inoculum from an 18- to 24-hour pure culture to streak the entireslant surface. Do not stab the butt as it will serve as a color control . Incubatetubes with loosened caps at 35oC. Observe the slant for a color change at 6 hours,24 hours, and every day for up to 6 days. Urease production is indicated by abright pink (fuchsia) color on the slant that may extend into the butt. Note thatany degree of pink is considered a positive reaction. Prolonged incubation mayresult in a false-positive test due to hydrolysis of proteins in the medium. Toeliminate protein hydrolysis as the cause of a positive test, a control mediumlacking urea should be used.Rapidly urease-positive Proteeae (Proteus spp., Morganella morganii, andsome Providencia stuartii strains) will produce a strong positive reaction within1 to 6 hours of incubation. Delayed-positive organisms (e.g., Klebsiella orEnterobacter) will typically produce a weak positive reaction on the slant after6 hours, but the reaction will intensify and spread to the butt on prolongedincubation (up to 6 days). The culture medium will remain a yellowish color ifthe organism is urease negative.Fig. 11.7Urease positive bacteria : Proteus spp., Morganella morganiiUrease negative bacteria : E. coli,INTEXT QUESTIONS 11.31. Example of oxidase negative bacteria .2. Positive indole test is indicated by formation of . in the reagentlayer3. Indole test is used to distinguish among memb

There are many biochemical tests available for bacterial identification. Few of them are required to be carried out depending upon the bacteria. The commonly used biochemical tests are as mentioned below (a) Catalase test (b) Coagulase test (c) Oxidase test (d) Sugar fermentation test (e) Indole test (f) Citrate test (g) Urease test (a) Catalase test Purpose The catalase test facilitates the .