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Test Code ACT Actinomyces Culture

Performing Laboratory

Mayo Medical Laboratories in Rochester

Reporting Name

Actinomyces Culture

Specimen Type


Shipping Instructions

Specimen should arrive within 72 hours of collection.

Necessary Information

Specimen source is required.

Specimen Required

Specimen Type: Abscesses, intrauterine devices, percutaneous transtracheal aspirates, sterile body fluids, suprapubic aspirations, wounds

Supplies: Anaerobe Transport Tube (T588)

Specimen Volume: Entire specimen

Reject Due To









Specimen Stability Information

Specimen Type Temperature Time
Varies Ambient 72 hours

Day(s) and Time(s) Performed

Monday through Sunday; Continuously

Specimen Retention Time

7 days

Analytic Time

14 days

Reference Values

No growth

Identification of probable pathogens

Reflex Tests

Test ID Reporting Name Available Separately Always Performed
ISAN Anaerobe Ident by Sequencing No, (Bill Only) No
TISSR Tissue Processing No, (Bill Only) No
RMALA Id MALDI-TOF Mass Spec Anaerobe No, (Bill Only) No

Useful For

Diagnosing anaerobic Actinomyces involved in infections

Testing Algorithm

When this test is ordered, the reflex tests may be performed and charged.

Method Name

Conventional Culture Techniques

Test Classification

This test uses a standard method. Its performance characteristics were determined by Mayo Clinic in a manner consistent with CLIA requirements. This test has not been cleared or approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

CPT Code Information

87075-Actinomyces culture

62258-Id MALDI-TOF Mass Spec Anaerobe (if appropriate)

87153-Anaerobe identification by sequencing (if appropriate)

87176-Tissue processing (if appropriate)

LOINC Code Information

Test ID Test Order Name Order LOINC Value
ACT Actinomyces Culture 9816-0


Result ID Test Result Name Result LOINC Value
ACT Actinomyces Culture 9816-0

Clinical Information

Anaerobic Actinomyces are nonsporeforming, thin branching, gram-positive bacilli that are part of the normal flora of the human oral cavity and may also colonize the gastrointestinal and female genital tracts. Their presence is important in preserving the usual bacterial populations of the mouth and in preventing infection with pathogenic bacteria.


Actinomyces are generally of low pathogenicity but may be an important factor in the development of periodontal disease and may cause soft tissue infections in colonized areas of the body following trauma (surgical or otherwise). The typical lesion consists of an outer zone of granulation around central purulent loculations containing masses of tangled organisms ("sulfur granule"). Chronic burrowing sinus tracts develop. Typical actinomycotic infections occur around the head and neck, in the lung and chest wall, and in the peritoneal cavity and abdominal wall. Actinomycosis of the female genital tract occurs in association with use of intrauterine contraceptive devices. Purulent collections containing "sulfur granules" may drain from some sinus tracts opening to the skin.


Isolation of anaerobic Actinomyces in significant numbers from well collected specimens including blood, other normally sterile body fluids, or closed collections of purulent fluid indicates infection with the identified organism.


Specimens should be collected by needle and syringe aspiration or surgical drainage to avoid contamination with normal-flora Actinomyces, especially in and around the oral cavity; such contamination would make interpretation of culture results impossible.


Specimens must be transported in anaerobic transport vials.

Clinical Reference

1. Summanen P, Baron EJ, Citron DM, Jousimies-Somer HR, et al: Wadsworth Anaerobic Bacteriology Manual, Sixth edition. Belmont CA, Star Publishing Co. 2002

2.. Hall V, Copsey SD: Propionibacterium, Lactobacillus, Actinomyces, and Other Non-Spore-Forming Anaerobic Gram-Positive Rods. In Manual of Clinical Microbiology. 11th edition. Edited by J Jorgensen. Washington DC, ASM Press, 2015 Chapters 52, pp 920-939

3. Morton A, Hall, GS: Anaerobic Gram-Positive Bacilli. In Clinical Microbiology Procedures Handbook. Third edition. Vol. 1. Edited by LS Garcia. Washington DC, ASM Press, 2010

Method Description

Appropriate specimens are inoculated onto blood agar and into thioglycollate broth which are incubated under anaerobic conditions. Cultures are examined after 48 hours of incubation and thereafter (maximum of 14 days) for the presence of organisms that have characteristic colonial and Gram-stain morphologies. Definitive identification is made using MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry or 16S rRNA sequencing.(Koneman EW: The Anaerobic Bacteria. In Color Atlas and Textbook of Diagnostic Microbiology, Sixth edition. Philadelphia, Lippincott, Williams and Wilke, 2006, pp 877-944)