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Nonfermentative bacilli: evaluation of three systems for identification.

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  • Research Article


Three systems for the identification of nonfermentative bacilli were evaluated for their rapidity and accuracy of identification of 217 strains. Two of the systems, API 20E (API) and Oxi/Ferm tube (OxiF), are available as kits; the oxidative attack (OA) system is not commerically available. The overall accuracies of the OA, API, and OxiF systems were 91, 69, and 50%, respectively. Identification within 48 h was achieved for 98% of the strains by OA, for 50% by API, and for 18% by OxiF. Most of the organisms that were either misidentified or not identified by API and OxiF were those nonfermentative bacilli which are relatively more fastidious or rarely encountered or both. All three systems accurately identified nonfermentative bacilli commonly isolated at Olive View Medical Center, namely, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Acinetobacter anitratus, Pseudomonas maltophilia, Acinetobacter lwoffi, saccharolytic flavobacteria (CDC IIb), moraxellae, Pseudomonas fluorescens, and Pseudomonas putida. The OA system identified 100% of the above organisms correctly, API identified 99.4%, and OxiF identified 99.3%. Since these organisms comprise 92% of the total number of nonfermentative bacilli isolated at Olive View Medical Center, we conclude that both API and OxiF may be useful alternatives to conventional methods, based on accuracy of identification alone. These two systems were considered substantially inferior to the OA system when both accuracy and rapidity of identification were taken into account.

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