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Mycobacterium species Culture (Clinical Material)

Use of Test

Culture and smear for mycobacteria in clinical specimens with subsequent identification of isolates. Reflexes to primary drug susceptibility for M. tuberculosis.

Test Includes

Acid fast stain, DNA probe; High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC); Matrix Assisted Laser Desorption/Ionization - Time of Flight Mass Spectroscopy (MALDI-TOF MS); BD BACTEC™ MGIT™ Antimycobacterial Susceptibility Testing (AST)


Test is available to all clinical laboratories and local public health jurisdictions. Overnight courier service is available for public health entities.

For related testing options, see “Mycobacterium tuberculosis NAA” and “Mycobacterium tuberculosis Susceptibility Testing


Specimens should be submitted as soon as possible after collection for optimal recovery.


Public health investigation testing - Exempt
Non-public health investigation testing - Fee Due

Causes for Rejection

Inappropriate specimen transport container; Unlabeled or mislabeled specimen; Inappropriate transport conditions; Incomplete or missing specimen submission form; Specimen leakage during transport; Inappropriate specimen for test ordered; Specimen outdated, exceeds appropriate time from collection to receipt; Quantity not sufficient to perform test; Improperly preserved specimen

Turnaround Time

1 day (AFB smear), 21 days (culture ID), up to 8 weeks for culture negative specimens

Forms Required

Microbiology Submission Form (HEA 2530)

Specimen Requirements

Refer to “State of Ohio Department of Health Sputum Collection Instructions” for collection and handling instructions

Acceptable clinical specimens include sputum, bronchial specimens or tracheal aspirates, blood, skin or tissue biopsy, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), bone marrow, body fluids and urine. Gastric aspirates are acceptable but must be neutralized immediately after collection prior to submission. Swabs are not recommended and should not be submitted; collect an aspirate using sterile saline.

A minimum of 5 mL of sputum, bronchial specimen, or tracheal aspirate maintained at 2-8°C and received within 7 days of collection.

Do not pool specimens. Pooling dilutes the specimen and increases the likelihood of contamination.

Contact ODHL Customer Service to obtain collection kits

Shipping Requirements

Shipping specimen refrigerated on cold packs is preferred, otherwise, ship overnight at ambient temperature. Stability - Ambient: 24 hours; Refrigerated: 1 week

Ship in compliance with federal regulation and local guidelines. Refer to the Shipping Resources page for more information.