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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

Any isolate with the following features should be immediately referred to your LRN reference laboratory:

B. mallei:

  • Gram stain that reveals pale staining straight or slightly curved gram-negative coccobacilli
  • Cells arranged in end-to-end pairs, parallel bundles, or Chinese letter form
  • Smooth, gray, translucent colonies on sheep blood agar (SBA) at 48 hours
  • Catalase positive
  • Oxidase variable
  • Indole negative
  • Non-motile

B. pseudomallei:

  • Gram stain shows slender gram-negative rods with bipolar staining
  • Smooth form appears in Gram stain as long parallel bundles
  • Rough form appears in Gram stain in an irregular arrangement
  • Smooth, creamy, white colonies on SBA at 24 hours
  • Dry, wrinkled colonies at 48-72 hours
  • Catalase positive
  • Oxidase positive
  • Indole negative
  • Motility positive