Test materials

The right choice of test material for each clinical situation and correct method of sample collection are an essential part of the preanalytical procedures in medical practices.

Blood cultures

Aerobic and anaerobic blood cultures

A blood culture is a microbiological blood test that aims to multiply pathogens present in the blood through cultivation in order to detect and identify them. Blood culture bottles contain a broth and a gas mixture. The latter differs between bottles for aerobic and anaerobic pathogens.

  • Anaerobic bottles contain more carbon dioxide.
  • Aerobic bottles contain more oxygen.


Blood collection for blood cultures

Blood collection should be performed immediately at the onset of fever or pneumonia, and where possible before start of treatment or at the end of an antibiotic dosing interval, respectively. It is important for the blood collection to be performed rapidly in succession from different blood collection sites, preferably two blood culture pairs each (1 pair = 1 aerobic blood culture bottle + 1 anaerobic blood culture bottle). Please inform the laboratory in case of suspected endocarditis, because a longer incubation period is required in this case.

Shipment and storage

The time between starting the blood cultures and their shipment and arrival at the laboratory must not exceed 48 hours. Blood cultures must be labelled with the date and time of collection. If temporary storage is necessary, the sample should be stored at room temperature (20–25 °C). Please hand over the blood culture flasks separately to the courier service.

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