SCREENING METHODS: Growth medium

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Although many bacteria grow in a free-living, ‘planktonic’ state, it is quite common for them to adhere to surfaces by producing extracellular polymeric substances (EPS), e.g. biofilms. Due to their higher resistance against antimicrobial agents, an interesting option in antibacterial research is to include a bacterial biofilm model (e.g. Staphylococcus aureus ATCC6538).

Mueller-Hinton (MH) agar or broth and tryptic soy agar or broth (TSA or TSB) are general growth media for bacteria, while Sabouraud (SAB) agar or broth is used for fungi. Growth of fastidious micro-organisms, such as Streptococcus pneumonia and Legionella pneumophila, may require more complex media, enrichment of the incubation atmosphere with 5% CO2 and/or extension of the incubation time. Slight differences in the composition of the growth medium can greatly affect the antibacterial activity of a compound. For example, addition of sheep blood to Mueller-Hinton medium increases the MIC of flavomycin from 0.12 to 256 mg/l (Butaye et al., 2000). Consequently, a definite choice of growth medium is essential to compare different antibacterial compounds or extracts.

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