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Bacterial typing and sub typing methods are necessary for the characterisation of disease causing bacteria and are useful in providing epidemiological information. This information is used for early outbreak identification, outbreak characterization and interventions to limit the impact of outbreaks on human populations. Surveillance of the types and subtypes of bacteria circulating among humans, animals, food and the environment, provides information essential for the understanding on how the human population in the world is exposed to bacterial pathogens and how such exposures can be minimised or even eliminated. The determination of serotype prevalence has often paved the way for vaccines to prevent bacterial infections.
One of the most widely used techniques for the identification of bacterial types is based on the use of polyvalent and monovalent antisera, which react with one or more of the specific bacterial antigen groups.
Bacterial antigens are divided into 3 main groups:-
Cell wall (O antigen)
Flagella (H antigen)
Capsule (K antigen)
Slide Agglutination Test
Antisera for O and K typing are normally used with the slide agglutination test. Following isolation or enrichment of bacteria from a clinical specimen by using agar or broth, procurement of a pure culture from the primary culture and then identification of the bacterium by microscopy, growth characteristics and other biochemical properties, a small amount of dense antigen suspension (usually 5 - 10ul) is mixed with one of the selected Antisera. After mixing, any agglutination patterns are macroscopically observed.
Test results maybe obtained within one minute.
Tube Agglutination Test
Typing of H antigen is often performed by tube agglutination. Following the preparation of diluted H antigen suspension from a broth culture, 0.1ml of Antisera is added to 0.5ml of suspension in a tube. Mix and incubate at 50 degrees C for one hour and check for agglutination.
Click on the red links on the right to open full list of antisera available