Baird Parker Agar- principle, preparation and uses

Baird Parker Agar was developed by Baird Parker in 1962 and is a modification of Tellurite-glycine formulation of Zebovitz et al. It is a moderately selective medium for the isolation and differentiation of coagulase positive Staphylococci especially Staphylococcus aureus. It is primarily used in processing of food, cosmetics and environmental samples rather than clinical samples.

Colonies of Staphylococcus aureus in Baird Parker Agar Medium
Colonies of Staphylococcus aureus in Baird Parker Agar Medium


Baird Parker Agar medium is formulated on the principle that staphylococci are able to reduce tellurite to tellurium and to detect lecithinase from egg lecithin. Components like Casein enzymic hydrolysate, meat extract and yeast extract provides nitrogen, carbon, sulphur and vitamins. Pyruvate and Sodium pyruvate not only protects injured cells and helps recovery but also stimulates the growth of Staphylococcus aureus. Lithium chloride and potassium tellurite acts as inhibitor agent for contaminating microflora. The tellurite additive is toxic to egg yolk-clearing strains other than S. aureus and imparts a black colour to the colonies.  

Composition of the media

Ingredients Gm/L
Casein Peptone 10 g
Meat Extract 5 g
Yeast Extract 1 g
Lithium Chloride 5 g
Glycine 12 g
Sodium pyruvate 10 g
Agar 15 g
Final pH (at 25 °C) 6.8±0.2

Egg yolk tellurite enrichment is added as supplement

Procedure for preparation of the media

  1. Suspend desired quantity (as per manufacturers instruction) of the medium in 950 ml purified water.
  2. Heat with frequent agitation and boil for one minute to completely dissolve the medium.
  3. Autoclave at 121°C for 15 minutes.
  4. After cooling to 45- 50°C, add 50 mL of Egg Yolk Tellurite Supplement and 3 ml sterile 3.5% Potassium Tellurite solution or 50 ml Egg Yolk Tellurite Emulsion
  5. Mix thoroughly before dispensing

Result and Interpretation:

On 18-24 hrs incubation, colonies of Staphylococcus aureus appear black and shiny, with a fine white rim, surrounded by a clear zone. Upon further incubation, for 48 hrs, an opaque zone is developed around colonies, which can be due to lipolytic activity.

Coagulase test on the colonies with the above characteristics should be additionally done for confirmation.

On testing food samples for the presence of Staphylococcus aureus, quantitative results can be obtained by counting the Staphylococcus aureus like colonies and reported as number of Staphylococcus aureus colonies per gram of food.

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