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Cover Medical Microbiology

Identification tests  

John Perry

This chapter examines biochemical reactions that allow for differentiation of clinically important bacteria, looking at the application of identification tests. Bacterial identification is traditionally based on a presumptive assignment to a genus or species based on morphological and cultural characteristics, followed by confirmation using biochemical tests. The chapter explains how bacterial hydrolases can be detected and provides examples of specific hydrolases produced by pathogens. It demonstrates how carbohydrate metabolism and amino acid metabolism by bacteria can be exploited in bacterial identification, before showing how susceptibility tests can assist microbial identification. The chapter then discusses the principles of MALDI-TOF and immunological tests for bacterial identification, along with their benefits to diagnosis of infection. It also considers the pitfalls and quality issues with biochemical identification tests.