The ability of several anaerobic bacteria to hydrolyze esculin to esculetin is used by clinical microbiologists and taxonomists in the differentiation and identification of both gram-positive and gram-negative microorganisms. Conventional methods used for determining esculin hydrolysis by anaerobic bacteria require 24 to 48 h for completion. In this paper we evaluate two procedures which yield rapid results. A total of 738 anaerobic bacteria were used in this study. A total of 99% of the esculin-hydrolyzing anaerobic bacteria gave positive results with the spot test in 1 h, whereas the other test method, the PathoTec strip test (General Diagnostics, Morris Plains, N.J.), required 4 h for 96% of the strains tested to yield positive reactions. Both tests showed a 100% specificity when compared with the standard broth test and are easy to perform, accurate, and economical. The spot test is superior to the PathoTec strip test in yielding results more rapidly
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