Comparison of culture media and chairside assays for enumerating mutans streptococci

G. H. Hildebrandt, W. A. Bretz

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27 Scopus citations


Aim: This study compared several traditional culture-based media and chairside cultural assays for ability to recover mutans streptococci (MS) from pure cultures and from saliva samples. Methods and Results: When pure cultures were used with traditional culture-based media, mitis-salivarius bacitracin (MSB) agar demonstrated less support for bacterial recovery than trypticase-yeast extract-cysteine sucrose-bacitracin (TYCSB) agar and the modified medium of Ritz (HLR-S). One species of MS, Streptococcus ferus (c), was not recovered on MSB medium. Chairside cultural tests displayed considerable disparity between tests in recovering bacteria from pure cultures. On the glass adherence assay (Mucount®), S. ferus was not detected and Streptococcus criceti was not detected on the dipslide assay (Cariescreen SM®) or on the plastic adherence assay (Dentocult SM Strip mutans®). The frequency of isolation of pure strains of bacteria other than MS was common. From saliva samples, the frequency of isolation of MS on HLR-S and TYCSB media and the glass adherence assay was 91-97%. The frequency of isolation on MSB medium and on the dip-slide and plastic adherence assays was significantly decreased (37, 47 and 69%, respectively). Recovery scores varied considerably among the culture methods studied and tended to be highest on the HLR-S medium and on the glass adherence assay. Conclusions: Growth and recovery profiles of pure bacterial cultures and of saliva samples for the MS varied according to different media. Significance and Impact of the Study: Caution should be exercised in comparing results between studies that employ different cultural methods for MS enumeration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1339-1347
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Applied Microbiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2006


  • Culture media
  • Mutans streptococci
  • Pure strains
  • Rapid assays
  • Saliva


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