Since the introduction of the API 20E kit a number of identification schemes have been developed by the manufacturer for use with the kit. We evaluated the success of these various schemes in identifying 206 strains belonging to 34 taxa of the family Enterobacteriaceae. Many of the strains were atypical and only 94% could be identified by our own system of 50 conventional tests and a computer program. The most advanced identification scheme so far developed for the API 20E kit (the Analytical Profile Index and complementary Computer Service) allowed 88% of the 206 strains to be correctly identified, although 2% were incorrectly identified. The tests in the API 20E kit and 52 conventional tests were separately evaluated for their ability to discriminate between the 34 taxa considered in this study. Our results suggest that replacing some of the tests in the present API 20E kit might further improve its diagnostic performance.
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