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Motility-indole-lysine medium for presumptive identification of enteric pathogens of Enterobacteriaceae.

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  • Research Article


Detection of lysine decarboxylase activity is a useful supplement to reactions on triple sugar-iron (TSI) and urea agars in the initial examination of suspected pathogenic isolates from fecal cultures. Owing to the added value of motility and indole production in the differentiation of enteric pathogens, we prepared and evaluated a motility-indole-lysine (MIL) medium. The following 890 organisms were tested: 264 Shigella, 2 Edwardsiella, 182 Salmonella enteritidis, 235 S. typhi, 3 Arizona, 32 Yersinia enterocolitica, and 172 other members of the family Enterobacteriaceae. With few exceptions the MIL medium gave the same results as the standard motility, indole, and lysine decarboxylase (Moeller) test media. All discrepancies were with the indole reaction, which was weak in 2 of 67 strains of Escherichia coli and falsely negative in 6 of 32 strains of Y. enterocolitica. When both TSI agar and lysine-iron agar (LIA) slants are used in the evaluation isolates from fecal cultures, detection of H2S is duplicated. Both LIA and MIL medium detect lysine decarboxylase and deaminase activity equally well. Because of its ability to detect motility and indole production, the MIL medium is more useful than LIA when used with TSI agar. The combination of TSI agar, MIL medium, and urea agar enables reliable initial recognition of enteric pathogens of the Enterobacteriaceae.

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