In Denmark porcine pleuropneumonia is most frequently caused by Actinobacillus pleuropneumoniae serotype 2 (60%). Isolation of A. pleuropneumoniae from nasal cavities or tonsils from carrier animals is complicated due to the mixed bacterial flora present. An immunomagnetic separation technique (IMS) using immunomagnetic beads (Dynabeads(R)) was developed for isolation of A. pleuropneumoniae serotype 2 from pure cultures and from heterogeneous suspensions. Different coating and washing procedures were evaluated in pure and mixed cultures using polyclonal (PAb) and monoclonal antibodies. The highest reisolation yield was achieved when the beads were coated with 1.5 mug PAb IgG/10(7) beads. After washing the beads for four times 9-24% of the bacteria could be reisolated depending on the amount of IgG attached to the beads and the number of beads used. The recovery was increased to 19-61% when only two washing steps were performed. The IMS was further evaluated using dilutions of A. pleuropneumoniae with added Pasteurella multocida (10(9) CFU/ml). After two washing steps 15% of the A. pleuropneumoniae cells and no P. multocida was reisolated. A detection limit of 10 CFU/ml was found in this heterogeneous suspension. No significant difference was observed when comparing the recovery of A. pleuropneumoniae from pure culture, from mixed cultures and from artificially inoculated tonsils. From 12 pigs inoculated with an aerosol of A. pleuropneumoniae serotype 2 the bacterium could not be detected from the nasal cavity or tonsils by cultivation or PCR 6 weeks later. By using IMS A. pleuropneumoniae serotype 2 could be reisolated from the tonsils of three pigs. The LMS method represents a valuable tool for isolation of A. pleuropneumoniae from tissue samples.