Burkholderia cepacia is a recognised cause of respiratory failure in patients with cystic fibrosis. The value of routine use of selective enrichment broth to increase the yield of B cepacia from cystic fibrosis sputa was investigated. Two hundred sputa from 86 adult and paediatric patients were cultured onto B cepacia selective agar and also in enrichment broth. The enrichment broths were subcultured after incubation onto B cepacia selective agar. Fourteen sputa from eight patients yielded B cepacia. In all cases the isolate was recovered from the primary selective agar as well as the enrichment broth subcultures. The routine use of enrichment for cystic fibrosis sputa is of unproven benefit and increases laboratory costs.