The E-test (PDM Epsilometer; AB Biodisk, Solna, Sweden) is an antimicrobial agent gradient-coated plastic test strip which allows MIC determinations on agar media. The test is performed in a manner similar to the agar disk diffusion procedure. A collection of Haemophilus influenzae and Streptococcus pneumoniae strains possessing various resistance mechanisms was used to evaluate the E-test method. H. influenzae strains were tested with both Haemophilus test medium (HTM) and PDM ASM II chocolate agar, while the S. pneumoniae strains were tested on Mueller-Hinton sheep blood agar. E-test MICs for a total of 10 antimicrobial agents were compared with broth microdilution MICs determined according to National Committee for Clinical Laboratory Standards Methods. In general, E-test MICs for both species were quickly and easily interpreted and agreed within one log2 MIC increment in 89.8% of tests with H. influenzae and in 80.4% of pneumococcal tests. The majority of disagreements between the E-test and conventional MICs occurred with trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole because of trailing and diffuse E-test MIC endpoints with both species. Ampicillin MICs for β-lactamase-producing H. influenzae determined by the E-test differed at times from those determined by conventional testing because of the vagaries of interpreting colonies growing within the E-test inhibition ellipses. E-test penicillin MICs for pneumococci tended to be 1 to 2 log2 dilutions lower than those determined by using Mueller-Hinton broth supplemented with lysed horse blood. Nevertheless, strains of both species with documented resistance to the study drugs were detected by E-tests, i.e., 0.7% of the tests had very major errors with H. influenzae and 0.8% had very major errors with S. pneumoniae. Thus, the E-test represents a potential alternative method for antimicrobial susceptibility testing of these two fastidious bacterial species.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Microbiology (medical)