Antonie van Leeuwenhoek

, Volume 47, Issue 6, pp 499–507 | Cite as

A rapid method for the detection of tryptophanase in anaerobic bacteria

  • M. R. Karim
  • S. M. Hussain Qadri
  • D. J. Flournoy
Medical Microbiology


A total of 633 anaerobic bacteria were examined for tryptophanase production using a rapid method which distinguishes within 5 to 180 minutes between anaerobes that contain tryptophanase and those that do not. Of the 196 tryptophanase-positive isolates tested, 99% showed tryptophanase activity within 2 hours as compared with 94.4% in 24 hours by a conventional method. A total of 299 tryptophanase-negative organisms were tested. Ninety three percent of these remained negative after 24 hours as compared with 95.3% when tested with a 24-h conventional method. Additional information was obtained on the sensitivity of this test and the time-dependent production of indole by tryptophanase.


Indole Conventional Method Anaerobic Bacterium Rapid Method Tryptophanase Activity 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Arnold, W. M. and Weaver, R. H. 1948. Quick microtechniques for the identification of cultures. — J. Lab. Clin. Med. 33: 1334–1337.Google Scholar
  2. Blazevic, D. J. and Ederer, G. M. (eds). 1975. In Principles of biochemical tests in diagnostic microbiology. — John Wiley and Sons, New York.Google Scholar
  3. Branson, D. (ed.). 1972. In Methods in clinical bacteriology. — C. C. Thomas Publ., Springfield, IL.Google Scholar
  4. Dowell, V. R. and Lombard, G. L. 1977. Presumptive identification of anaerobic non-spore forming gram-negative Bacilli. — DHEW publication, Center of Disease Control, Atlanta, GA.Google Scholar
  5. Fay, G. D. and Barry, A. L. 1974. Methods for detecting indole production by gram-negative non-spore forming anaerobes. — Appl. Microbiol. 27: 562–565.Google Scholar
  6. Finegold, S. M., Bartlett, J., Chow, A. W., Flora, D. J. Gorbach, S. L., Harder, E. L. and Tally, F. P. 1975. UCLA Conference: Management of anaerobic infections. — Ann. Intern. Med. 83: 375–389.Google Scholar
  7. Finegold, S. M., Martin, W. L. and Scott, E. G. (eds). 1978. Bailey and Scott's diagnostic microbiology: A textbook for the isolation and identification of pathogenic microorganisms. 5th ed. — C. V. Mosby Co., St. Louis, MO.Google Scholar
  8. Finegold, S. M., Shepherd, W. E. and Spaulding, E. H. 1977. In W. E. Shepherd (ed.), Cumitech 5: Practical anaerobic bacteriology. — Am. Soc. Microbiol., Washington, D. C.Google Scholar
  9. Gorbach, S. L. and Bartlett, J. G. 1974. Medical progress: Anaerobic infections. — N. Engl. J. Med. 290: 117, 1237, 1289.Google Scholar
  10. Hansen, S. L. and Stewart, B. J. 1976. Comparison of API and Minitek to Center for Disease Control. Methods for the biochemical characterization of anaerobes. — J. Clin. Microbiol. 4: 227–231.Google Scholar
  11. Hanson, C. W., Welch, W. D. and Martin, W. J. 1977. Comparison of Minitek and API methods on identification consistency of anaerobic bacteria. — Abstr. Annu. Meeting Am. Soc. Microbiol. C171: 54.Google Scholar
  12. Happold, F. C. 1950. Tryptophanase — Tryptophan reaction. — Adv. Enzymol. 10: 51–82.Google Scholar
  13. Hartman, P. A. (ed.). 1968. In Miniaturized microbiological methods. — Acad. Press Inc., New York.Google Scholar
  14. Holdeman, L. V. Moore, W. E. C. 1975. Anaerobe laboratory manual. — Virginia Polytechnique Institute and State Univ., Blacksburg.Google Scholar
  15. Kovacs, N. 1928. Eine vereinfachte Methode zum Nachweis der Indol Bildung durch Bacterien, — Z. Immunitätsforsch. Exp. Ther. 55: 311–315.Google Scholar
  16. Laughon, B. E., Syed, S. A. and Loesche, W. J. 1981. Miniaturized biochemical tests for the rapid indentification of black-pigmented Bacteroides of oral origin. — Abstr. Annu Meeting Am. Soc. Microbiol. C54: 271.Google Scholar
  17. Moore, H. B., Sutter, V. L. and Finegold, S. M. 1975. Comparison of the three procedures for biochemical testing of anaerobic bacteria. — J. Clin. Microbiol. 1: 15–24.Google Scholar
  18. Paik, G. 1980. Reagents, stains and miscellaneous test procedures. p. 1000–1024. In E. H. Lennette, E. H. Spaulding and J. P. Truant (eds), Manual of clinical microbiology, 3rd ed. — Am. Soc. Microbiol., Washington, D.C.Google Scholar
  19. Qadri, S. M. H. Peddecord, M. and Zubairi, S. 1980. Rapid test for indole formation with non-poliferating bacteria. — Antonie van Leeuwenhoek 46: 419–423.Google Scholar
  20. Reed, R. W. 1942. Nitrate, nitrite and indole reactions of gangrene anaerobes. — J. Bacteriol. 44: 425–431.Google Scholar
  21. Sutter, V. L. and Carter, W. T. 1972. Evaluation of media and reagents for indole-spot tests in anaerobic bacteriology. — Am. J. Clin. Pathol. 58: 335–338.Google Scholar
  22. Sutter, V. L., Vargo, V. L. and Finegold, S. M. 1975. Wadsworth anaerobic bacteriology manual. — Department of Continuing Education in Health Sciences University Extension, and the School of Medicine, University of California at Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA.Google Scholar
  23. Vracko, R. and Sherris, J. C. 1963. Indole spot-test in bacteriology. — Am. J. Clin. Pathol. 39: 429–432.Google Scholar
  24. Weaver, D. K., Lee, E. K. H. and Leahy, M. S. 1968. Comparison of reagent impregnated paper strips and conventional methods for identification of Enterebacteriaceae. — Am. J. Clin. Pathol. 49: 494–499.Google Scholar
  25. Wood, W. A., Gunsalus, I. C. and Umbreit, W. W. 1947. Functions of pyridoxal phosphate: Resolution and susceptibility of the tryptophanase enzyme of Enscherichia coli. — J. Biol. Chem. 170: 313–321.Google Scholar
  26. Yokoyama, M. T. and Carlson, J. R. 1974. Dissimilation of tryptophan and related indole compounds by ruminal microororganisms in vitro. — Appl. Microbiol. 27: 540–548.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. R. Karim
    • 1
    • 2
  • S. M. Hussain Qadri
    • 1
    • 2
  • D. J. Flournoy
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.The University of Oklahoma Health Sciences CenterOklahoma CityUSA
  2. 2.The Veterans Administration Medical CenterOklahoma CityUSA

Personalised recommendations