Anaerobic Culture Media

Media used in anaerobic bacteriology can be freshly prepared or purchased from commercial suppliers. Media for anaerobic culture prepared in the laboratory should be used within two weeks of preparation as long storage degrades the quality of the media due to peroxide accumulation and dehydration. Anaerobic culture media contains reducing agents such as cysteine.

Various types of anaerobic culture media used in diagnostic bacteriology laboratory
Various types of anaerobic culture media are used in diagnostic bacteriology laboratory

Pre-reduced, anaerobically sterilized media are produced by different commercial suppliers, which have extended shelf life up to six months. The primary plating media for inoculating anaerobic specimens includes a non-selective blood agar and one or all of the following mentioned selective media.

Nonselective media used in anaerobic bacteriology:

  1. Cooked meat broth (e.g. Robertson’s Cooked Meat Medium): Non-selective for the cultivation of anaerobic organisms; with the addition of glucose, can be used for gas-liquid chromatography.
  2. Anaerobic blood agar: It is a non-selective medium for the isolation of anaerobes and facultative anaerobes.
  3. Egg-yolk agar (EYA): Non-selective for determination of lecithinase and lipase production by Clostridia and Fusobacteria.
  4. Peptone-yeast extract glucose broth (PYG): Non-selective for the cultivation of anaerobic bacteria for gas-liquid chromatography.

Selective and differential media used in anaerobic bacteriology:

  1. Bacteroides bile esculin agar (BBE): It is selective and differential for Bacteroides fragilis group and good for presumptive identification.
  2. Laked Kanamycin-vancomycin blood agar (LKV): It is selective for isolation of Prevotella and Bacteroides spp.
  3. Anaerobic phenylethyl alcohol agar (PEA): Selective for inhibition of gram-negative rods and swarming by some Clostridia.
  4. Cycloserine cefoxitin fructose agar (CCFA):  Selective for Clostridium difficile.
  5. Thioglycollate broth: Nonselective for the cultivation of anaerobes; as well as facultative anaerobes and aerobes.


  1. Madigan Michael T, Bender, Kelly S, Buckley, Daniel H, Sattley, W. Matthew, & Stahl, David A. (2018). Brock Biology of Microorganisms (15th Edition). Pearson.
  2. Color Atlas and Textbook of Diagnostic Microbiology, Koneman, 5th edition
  3. Pelczar Jr., M., Chan, E., & Krieg, N. (2007). Microbiology (5th edition). Tata McGraw-Hill

Acharya Tankeshwar

Hello, thank you for visiting my blog. I am Tankeshwar Acharya. Blogging is my passion. As an asst. professor, I am teaching microbiology and immunology to medical and nursing students at PAHS, Nepal. I have been working as a microbiologist at Patan hospital for more than 10 years.

11 thoughts on “Anaerobic Culture Media

  1. Sir,
    The blog is more informative,,,i have a doubt…is thioglycollate broth n agar good enough for culturing anaerobic organisms..

  2. Sir,
    Thank you for the informative post.. i have a question regarding sodium thioglychollate medium, is there an alternative for the medium because I have hard time getting to it.

    1. For which organism’s isolation you are searching the alternative? Are you talking about component of Thioglycolate medium (i.e. sodium thioglycolate) or replacement of Thioglycolate medium?

  3. Respected sir!i am a doctor and pulmonology is my field.i want to know that what do you mean by selective and non selective media?what is the difference between two?

    1. Dear Dr. Affaf
      Thank you for your question. Suppose a person has a pneumonia and two organisms are responsible for pneumonia in this case, say, Klebsiella pneumoniae and Streptococcus pneumoniae. The sputum sample if cultured in non selective media, say Blood Agar, both Klebsiella and Streptococcus will grow, but if it is cultured in selective agar say MacConkey Agar (which inhibits growth of Gram positive bacteria as it contains bile salt and crystal violet), only Klebsiella will grow.
      Based on our requirements, we can make media selective by incorporating antibiotics, or chemicals or rising or decreasing pH, etc.

  4. Sir, I am interested in bacteria and archea involved in biogas production. Which media (general purpose and selective media) should I use for isolation and identification,especially for the methanogens. Thank you

  5. how can i isolate eubacterias ? please suggest me best broth medium for its optimum growth

  6. hello sir
    Iam Rajalakshmi from Bharathiar University, Coimbatore, India..I want to work in anaerobic chamber and Iam new to it. pls help me to learn about anaerobes

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