Journal of medical microbiology

Isolation of Clostridium difficile from faecal specimens--a comparison of chromID C. difficile agar and cycloserine-cefoxitin-fructose agar.

PMID 23579394


The culture of toxigenic Clostridium difficile from stool specimens is still seen as the gold standard for the laboratory diagnosis of C. difficile infection (CDI). bioMérieux have released ChromID Cdiff chromogenic agar (CDIF) for the isolation and identification of C. difficile in 24 h. In this study, we compared CDIF to pre-reduced cycloserine-cefoxitin-fructose agar with sodium taurocholate (TCCFA) in the examination of glutamate dehydrogenase-positive faecal specimens that were either GeneOhm positive or negative, using direct culture or culture following alcohol shock. Direct culture on CDIF had a sensitivity of 100 % and recovery of 94 % while for TCCFA these were 87 % and 82 %, respectively. For GeneOhm-positive alcohol-shocked faecal samples, sensitivity and recovery on CDIF was similar to direct culture while on TCCFA they were about 10 % higher. For direct culture, there was a significant difference between growth on CDIF at 24 h and TCCFA at 48 h (P = 0.001) and between the two media at 48 h (P<0.001). A total of 142 strains of C. difficile were recovered in pure culture from all GeneOhm-positive samples used in this study and 11 (7.7 %) of these were A(-)B(-)CDT(-) and may represent mixed infections of toxigenic and non-toxigenic C. difficile. The most dominant ribotype was UK 014 (14.7 %) followed by 002 (11.9 %) and 020 (11.9 %), and 36 % of toxigenic isolates, including an A(-)B(+)CDT(-) strain, could not be assigned a UK ribotype. CDIF outperformed pre-reduced TCCFA by negating the need for alcohol shock treatment and by giving a time saving of 24 h in the isolation of C. difficile. CDIF plates were also more selective than TCCFA and C. difficile colonies were easy to identify and subculture prior to strain typing.