Reliable identification of pathogenic Burkholderia spp. like Burkholderia mallei and Burkholderia pseudomallei in clinical samples is desirable. Three different selective media were assessed for reliability and selectivity with various Burkholderia spp. and nontarget organisms.
Mast Burkholderia cepacia agar, Ashdown + gentamicin agar, and B. pseudomallei selective agar were compared. A panel of 116 reference strains and well-characterized clinical isolates, comprising 30 B. pseudomallei, 20 B. mallei, 18 other Burkholderia spp., and 48 nontarget organisms, was used for this assessment.
While all B. pseudomallei strains grew on all three tested selective agars, the other Burkholderia spp. showed a diverse growth pattern. Nontarget organisms, i.e., nonfermentative rod-shaped bacteria, other species, and yeasts, grew on all selective agars. Colony morphology did not allow unambiguous discrimination.
While the assessed selective media reliably allowed the growth of a wide range of B. pseudomallei strains, growth of other Burkholderia spp. is only partially ensured. Growth of various nontarget organisms has to be considered. Therefore, the assessed media can only be used in combination with other confirmative tests in the diagnostic procedure for the screening for melioidosis or glanders.