C-181. Maintenance of the Viability of Lactobacillus Species Transported in A.C.T. I under Different Temperature Conditions

P. P. Patel, F. Wegerhoff;
Covance Central Lab Services, Indianapolis, IN.

Lactobacilli are the predominant normal flora in the vagina and appear to protect against exogenous infections. Changes in the vaginal ecosystem may permit proliferation of Gardenerella, anaerobes and other pathogens.We wished to determine whether the viability of Lactobacillus species could be maintained in A.C.T.® I transport medium under different shipping conditions prior to culture in the laboratory. ATCC strain (Lactobacillus johnsonii ATCC 33220) and 12 clinical strains (Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus paracasei, Lactobacillus species NOS, Lactobacillus jensenii, Lactobacillus fermentum, Lactobacillus rhamnosus and Lactobacillus gasseri) were tested. Swabs were immersed in 1.0 McFarland suspensions of each organism and inserted into the transport device. Since vaginal specimens usually harbor some Gram-negative organisms, a correlation between Lactobacillus and Gram-negative organisms was established by inoculating a few A.C.T.® I tubes with known vaginal pathogens such as E.coli or P.aeruginosa along with Lactobacillus species. For these, a 0.5 McFarland suspension of E.coli or P.aeruginosa was mixed with a 1.0 McFarland suspension of Lactobacillus species. Semi-quantitative culture of swabs occurred on days 0,1, 3, 5, 7, 10, 14 and 21 using standard media. All strains of Lactobacillus with and without the Gram-negative organisms maintained viability for up to 21 days, in some cases the viability was better maintained at refrigerated temperature. Viability of Lactobacillus species may be effectively maintained at either ambient or refrigerated temperatures in A.C.T.® I for up to 21 days. The presence of other vaginal pathogens does not have a negative impact on their viability. A.C.T.® I is a useful transport device for maintaining organism viability at different temperatures, when immediate processing of patient specimens is not feasible.