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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Preliminary Identification of the Primary Select Agents of Bioterrorism. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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Burkholderia species

Burkholderia species is a dangerous and highly virulent organism that can cause laboratory-acquired infections. It should NOT be manipulated on an open bench.

Catalase: Both organisms are catalase positive. Catalase testing MUST be performed with extreme caution in a biosafety cabinet (BSC) due to the creation of aerosols.


  • B. mallei: Oxidase variable
  • B. pseudomallei: Oxidase positive

Indole: Both organisms are indole negative


  • B. mallei: Non-motile
  • B. pseudomallei: Motile