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March 28, 1977

Growth of Thermoactinomyces

Author Affiliations

Indiana University-Purdue University at Fort Wayne Fort Wayne

JAMA. 1977;237(13):1312. doi:10.1001/jama.1977.03270400016005

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To the Editor.—  In response to inquiries concerning the finding of Thermoactinomyces in environmental samples (236:344, 1976), I wish to answer two questions that were frequently asked.

  1. To grow these bacteria, use tryptic soy agar or Columbia colistin nalidixic acid agar medium. After spreading the sample on the surface of the agar, slip the Petri dish into a plastic bag with a tightly closed top to prevent drying of the agar. Incubate at least one day at 55°C. Colonies of Thermoactinomyces are chalky white and are easily recognized. A Gram stain will show refractile, round endospores when viewed microscopically at a magnification of 1,000.

  2. For a recent clinical report on hypersensitivity pneumonitis caused by Thermoactinomyces, I recommend the report by Fink and colleagues in the Annals of Internal Medicine (84:406-413, 1976).