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Test Code ANAE Bacterial Culture, Anaerobic

Performing Laboratory

Mayo Medical Laboratories in Rochester

Reporting Name

Bacterial Culture, Anaerobic

Specimen Type


Shipping Instructions

Specimen should arrive within 72 hours of collection.

Necessary Information

Specimen source is required.

Specimen Required

Specimen Types: Abscesses, percutaneous transtracheal aspirates, sterile body fluids, suprapubic aspirations, or wounds

Supplies: Anaerobe Transport Tube (T588)

Collection Instructions: Specimen should be obtained by using a needle and syringe from a source not normally colonized by anaerobes.

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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
RMALA Id MALDI-TOF Mass Spec Anaerobe No, (Bill Only) No
ISAN Anaerobe Ident by Sequencing No, (Bill Only) No
BLA Beta Lactamase No, (Bill Only) No
TISSR Tissue Processing No, (Bill Only) No
ANAID Anaerobe Ident No, (Bill Only) No
PCRID Identification by PCR No, (Bill Only) No

Useful For

Diagnosing anaerobic bacterial infections

Testing Algorithm

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

Method Name

Conventional Culture

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-Bacterial Culture, Anaerobic

87076-Id MALDI-TOF Mass Spec Anaerobe (if appropriate)

87153-Anaerobe Ident by Sequencing (if appropriate)

87176-Tissue Processing (if appropriate)

87185-Beta lactamase (if appropriate)

87798-Identification by PCR (if appropriate)

LOINC Code Information

Test ID Test Order Name Order LOINC Value
ANAE Bacterial Culture, Anaerobic 635-3


Result ID Test Result Name Result LOINC Value
ANAE Bacterial Culture, Anaerobic 635-3

Clinical Information

Anaerobic bacteria are the greatest component of the human body's normal bacterial flora colonizing the skin, oral cavity, and genitourinary and lower gastrointestinal tracts and generally do not cause infection. Their presence is important for vitamin and other nutrient absorption and in preventing infection with pathogenic bacteria.


When usual skin and mucosal barriers are penetrated and in an anaerobic environment, these bacteria can behave as pathogens. Typical anaerobic infections include periodontitis, abdominal or pelvic abscesses, endometritis, pelvic inflammatory disease, aspiration pneumonia, empyema and lung abscesses, sinusitis, brain abscesses, gas gangrene, and other soft tissue infections. 


Anaerobes grow aggressively in the body under anaerobic conditions and may possess a variety of virulence factors including capsules and extracellular enzymes. They also can develop resistance to antimicrobials by producing beta-lactamase and other modifying enzymes and by alterations in membrane permeability and structure of penicillin-binding proteins. Because anaerobic bacteria are a significant cause of human infection and they are often resistant to commonly used antimicrobials, susceptibility testing results are useful to clinicians. Many Bacteroides species produce beta-lactamases. Imipenem, metronidazole, and clindamycin are effective agents although resistance to clindamycin, and occasionally imipenem, is increasing.


Isolation of anaerobes 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 organisms.


Specimens should be collected by needle and syringe aspiration or surgical drainage to avoid contamination with normal-flora anaerobes; 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, et al: Wadsworth Anaerobic Bacteriology Manual. Sixth edition. Belmont CA, Star Publishing Co, 2002

2. Anaerobic bacteria: Chapters 50-54. In Manual of Clinical Microbiology. 11th edition. Edited by J Jorgensen, M Pfaller. Washington DC, ASM Press, 2015

3. Hall GS: Anaerobic bacteriology. Section 4. In Clinical Microbiology Procedures Handbook. Third edition. Edited by LS Garcia. Vol 1. ASM Press, Washington DC. 2007

Method Description

Appropriate specimens are inoculated onto blood agar, phenylethyl alcohol agar, lysed blood agar containing gentamicin and vancomycin, and into thioglycollate broth tubes which are incubated anaerobically for 48 hours. Colonies are subcultured to determine aerotolerance, and obligately anaerobic organisms may be identified by Gram stain and/or use of various differential media, MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry or 16S ribosomal RNA gene sequencing.(The Anaerobic bacteria. In Color Atlas and Textbook of Diagnostic Microbiology. Sixth edition. Edited by EW Koneman. Philadelphia, Lippincott, Williams and Wilke, 2006, pp 877-944)


If not ordering electronically, complete, print, and send a Microbiology Test Request Form (T244) with the specimen (