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Identification of Campylobacter species (BSOP ID23)

AbstractThis National Standard Method (NSM) describes the preliminary identification of Campylobacter to species level.

The family Campylobacteraceae (proposed in 1991) includes two closely related genera,
Campylobacter and Arcobacter. The genus Campylobacter contains 14 species.

Members of the family Campylobacteraceae are curved, S-shaped or spiral Gram-negative rods;
coccal forms may be seen under sub-optimal conditions. On selective agar the colonies are
grey/white or creamy grey and moist in appearance. They are motile, microaerophilic (optimum 5 -
10% oxygen) and oxidase positive. Campylobacter species do not ferment or oxidise carbohydrates.

A well-recognised problem associated with identification of Campylobacter species is the lack of
effective discriminating tests.

The species most commonly associated with diarrhoeal disease in humans are thermophilic ie they will grow at 42 - 43C and 37C, but not at 25C.

Principles of identification:
Preliminary identification of Campylobacter species from primary culture is by colonial appearance, Gram stain, growth in oxygen and oxidase test. Species differentiation is difficult because of the lack of discriminating tests available in most routine microbiology laboratories.
Date of publishing11/21/2007
Date of last review by us01/06/2011
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