Principle of Xylose lysine deoxycholate agar (XLD agar) II Microbiology II Media principle


XLD agar Principle (Xylose lysine deoxycholate agar)

Sugars xylose, lactose and sucrose provide sources of fermentable carbohydrates, xylose is mainly incorporated into the medium since it is not fermented by Shigellae but practically by all enterics. This helps in the differentiation of Shigella species.
Salmonellae rapidly ferment xylose and exhaust the supply. Subsequently lysine is decarboxylated by the enzyme lysine decarboxylase to form amines with reversion to an alkaline pH that mimics the Shigella reaction. However, to prevent this reaction by lysine-positive coliforms, lactose and sucrose are added to produce acid in excess. Degradation of xylose, lactose and sucrose to acid causes phenol red indicator to change its colour to yellow.
Bacteria that decarboxylate lysine to cadaverine can be recognized by the appearance of a red colouration around the colonies due to an increase in pH. These reactions can proceed simultaneously or successively, and this may cause the pH indicator to exhibit various shades of colour or it may change its colour from yellow to red on prolonged incubation. To add to the differentiating ability of the formulation, an H2S indicator system, consisting of sodium thiosulphate and ferric ammonium citrate, is included for the visualization of hydrogen sulphide produced, resulting in the formation of colonies with black centers. The non-pathogenic H2S producers do not decarboxylase lysine; therefore, the acid reaction produced by them prevents the blackening of the colonies. XLD Agar is both selective and differential medium. It utilizes sodium deoxycholate as the selective agent and therefore it is inhibitory to gram-positive microorganisms.


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  1. Where did the lysine come from? Is it a product from bacteria because they have the energy source to do translation?

  2. You make it beautiful and interesting. Thanks a lot, it is not well explained in the media's descriptions that you can find elsewhere!


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