Anaerobic bacteria: History and role in normal human flora
- John G Bartlett, MD
John G Bartlett, MD
- Editor-in-Chief — Infectious Diseases
- Section Editor — HIV; Pulmonary Infections
- Professor Emeritus
- Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Anaerobic bacteria are the predominant cultivable forms of life in the human body. While the role of these microbes as pathogens was well established at the turn of the 20th century, they are often neglected in part due to the fact that few clinical laboratories ever detect them. Important features that may limit detection of some of these organisms are:
●The lack of widely available diagnostic methods other than Gram stain and culture
●Fastidious growth requirements that often limit recovery
●Ubiquity on mucocutaneous surfaces that hampers obtaining meaningful cultures due to difficulty avoiding contamination
●The presence of mixed flora including other known pathogens
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