A new test for the detection of bacterial phosphatase activity has been devised. The test is performed using agar media containing both methyl green (MG) and phenolphthalein diphosphate (PDP); in these media phosphatase-producing strains grow deep-green-stained colonies whereas non-producing strains do not. A total of 739 different strains were tested, including 593 staphylococci, 95 micrococci, 11 streptococci, 10 corynebacteria, 14 enterobacteria, and 16 candidae. All strains found phosphatase-positive according to the conventional phosphatase test displayed deep-green-stained colonies on MG-PDP media, whereas all phosphatase-negative strains showed unstained colonies on the same media. The main advantages of the present phosphatase test as compared with other conventional ones are that it is more simple to perform, it can reveal the phosphatase activity of colonies grown in deep agar, and can be incorporated into commercial multitest kits.
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