The reliability of bioluminescence assays which employ the luciferin-luciferase ATP-dependent reaction to evaluate bacterial counts was studied, both in vitro and on urine specimens. Bioluminescence and cultural results for the most common urinary tract pathogens were analyzed. Furthermore, the influence of the culture medium, of the assaying method, and of the phase of growth on bioluminescence readings was studied. Results show that Proteus, Providencia, and Morganella strains are not correctly detected, neither in vitro nor in urine samples, by the standard assaying method. The analysis of assaying parameters demonstrated that some modifications to the extraction procedure of bacterial ATP could improve the reliability of this technique
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