Transport media are essentially solutions of buffers with carbohydrates, peptones and other nutrients (excluding growth factors)
designed to preserve the viability of bacteria during transport without allowing their multiplication.
The primary objective of the use of the transport medium is to maintain the specimen as near its original state as possible.
The transport medium not only protects the specimen, but also minimizes the overgrowth of bacteria from the collection to the processing of the specimen.
Depending on the type of organisms suspect in the sample, transport media may vary.
However, in general, transport media are classified on the basis of the physical state as semi-solid and liquid and also on the basis of their utility as bacterial or viral transport media.
What does transport media contain?
What samples are collected in transport medium?
All types of samples that may contain pathogens but could not be process immediately requires a transport medium.
It may be Stool, urethral swabs, Nasal and throat swabs and specimens for tissue culture etc.
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Given below are some examples of transport medium with their purpose:
Cary and Blair Medium: semi-solid, white color transport medium for faeces that may contain Salmonella, Shigella, Vibrio or Campylobacter
Charcoal helps eliminate metabolic products of bacterial growth, which may be especially useful in the isolation of fastidious organisms like.
However it is suggested that, some other pathogens like Campylobacter can also survive in such medium.
Amies medium without charcoal:
Are ideal for the isolation of Mycoplasma and Ureaplasma
Commonly used for transporting specimens suspecte of having gonococci.
Also use for transporting Throat, wound and skin swabs that may contain fastidious organisms.
Venkatraman Ramakrishnan (VR) medium:
Use to transport feces from suspecte cholera patients.
Sach’s buffered glycerol saline:
Used to transport faeces from patients suspecte to be suffering from bacillary dysentery.
Viral Transport Medium (VTM) is ideal for diagnosis of viral infection.
Ocular, respiratory and tissue swabs can be submit in this medium.
Fluid samples such as tracheal wash specimens or peritoneal fluid should be submit as is, in sterile vials which prevent desiccation.
In the absence of a virus transport medium, not only can the swab be placed in a sterile sealed vial, but also a few drops of saline can be added to prevent drying.
Cotton, plastic, wooden handle, polyester and other synthetic cotton swabs are all acceptable.
However, calcium alginate swabs should be avoided. Bacterial transport media are not suitable for virology.
It is not only a mineral salt semi-solid medium containing reducing agents, but also designed to maintain the activity of anaerobic bacteria.
It contains not only buffer mineral salts, but also sodium mercaptoacetate and cysteine to provide a reducing environment.
Resazurin may also be add as a redox indicator to reveal exposure to oxygen by turning pink.
It provides an environment that can not only maintain the viability of most microorganisms without mass reproduction, but also dilute inhibitors present in clinical materials. Examples include thioglycolate broth