Evaluation of a rapid tube assay for presumptive identification of Escherichia coli from veterinary specimens.


Three hundred sixty-six isolates of gram-negative, oxidase-negative bacteria from veterinary specimens were tested by a tube test for identification as Escherichia coli by production within 60 min of indole, beta-galactosidase, and beta-glucuronidase. The test correctly identified 255 of 269 isolates of E. coli (95% sensitivity) and correctly indicated that 97 of 97 isolates were not E. coli (100% specificity). We conclude that production of indole, beta-galactosidase, and beta-glucuronidase as measured by a rapid tube test is useful for identification of E. coli from veterinary specimens.

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