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October 9, 1972

"Anaerobic" Growth of Gonococci, and Candle Jars

Author Affiliations

Baylor College of Medicine
City of Houston Health Laboratories Houston

JAMA. 1972;222(2):212. doi:10.1001/jama.1972.03210020058022

To the Editor.—  We wish to correct an inaccuracy that appeared in an article recently published in The Journal (219:1730, 1972). In the first paragraph of the section entitled "Comment" the authors cited among the criteria used for identification of Neisseria gonorrhoeae "growth of the organism anaerobically under increased carbon dioxide tension."1 This statement is not correct. The organism grows optimally under aerobic conditions,2 although growth of most strains is enhanced by an increased tension of CO2, particularly when strains are cultured from specimens taken directly from patients.3 In our experience, gonococci grow poorly, if at all, under anaerobic conditions.This misconception concerning atmospheric conditions for growth of N gonorrhoeae is not unique. Another recent article referred to incubation of cultures anaerobically.4 Since precise conditions for incubation were not described, we cannot evaluate the authors' procedures. We suspect that cultures were incubated in a candle