Clinical Specimens suitable for anaerobic culture

Specimens for anaerobic culture should be properly collected and transported.  Indigenous anaerobes are often present in large numbers as normal flora on mucosal surfaces (e.g. vagina, mouth). So the sample from sites known to have anaerobes as part of the normal flora is unacceptable for anaerobic culture.

Specimen for anaerobic culture is best obtained by tissue biopsy or by aspiration using a needle and syringe.

Generally following clinical specimen are suitable for anaerobic culture

  1. Bile
  2. Biopsy of endometrial tissue obtained with an endometrial suction curette
  3. Blood
  4. Bone marrow
  5. Branchial washings obtained with double lumen plugged catheter
  6. Cerebrospinal fluid
  7. Culdocentesis aspirate
  8. Decubitus ulcer, if obtained from base of lesion after through debridement of surface debris
  9. Fluid from normally sterile site (e.g. joint)
  10. Material aspirated from abscesses (the best specimens are from loculated or walled-off lesions)
  11. Percutaneous (direct) lung aspirate or biopsy
  12. Peritoneal (ascitic) fluid
  13. Sulfur granules from draining fistula
  14. Suprapubic bladder aspirate
  15. Thoracentesis (pleural) fluid
  16. Tissue obtained at biopsy or autopsy
  17. Transtrancheal aspirate
  18. Uterine contents if collected using a protected swab