Difference in fungal cultures and bacterial cultures?

April 21, 2010

Cultures are an important diagnostic technique and are commonly used in medical procedures and tests. A culture is ideally used to test samples of skin, blood, pus, phlegm, sputum or any other liquid or cells sample taken from the body. These samples are usually taken from a person who is suspected to have infections.

A culture can help the doctor grow a bacterial or a fungal strain, studying how the microbes grow in the human body. A culture may also help identify the microbial strain and may also help the doctors in determining the medications that will treat the infection.

A fungal culture is typically performed in a laboratory setting, in order to rule out an infection caused by fungus. For the fungal cultures to be grown, the laboratory creates the right kind of conditions. A small portion of the fungus is spread in various inoculations. After the fungus is inserted into the inoculations, the media are kept incubated in an environment which is warm and moist—conducive to the growth of fungus.

Since fungus always grows by making colonies, the strain of fungus is identified by studying the morphology of the colony and the microscopic structures of the fungus. Fungal cultures are usually made by using smears and stains which are taken directly from the specimens.

Almost 90% of fungal infections do not require cultures to be produced. A microscopic examination of the specimen is usually good enough for the diagnosis of a fungal strain. One thing which is important to know while performing a fungal culture is that any topical antifungal preparation can cause a fungal culture to give incorrect results. Topical anti fungal ointments or preparations for one kind of fungus can affect any other kind of fungus which may be present on the specimen.

The major difference between a fungal and a bacterial culture is that a bacterial culture can help isolate a strain of bacteria from other similar bacteria. It is more difficult to identify bacterial strains from each other. Antibiotics used to treat one kind of bacteria cannot affect the other and therefore bacterial cultures are usually very accurate. Unlike fungus cultures, if a small portion of a bacterial colony is transferred and grown in a culture, it can become free of all other strains but a single species of bacteria.

Both fungal and bacterial cultures are useful in identifying the roots of an infection or a disorder. These are both clinical tests and are performed in a laboratory setting under the right kind of environment for growing the cultures.

Submitted by M T on April 21, 2010 at 01:21

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