A new test for the presumptive identification of Clostridium perfringens, C. bifermentans, C. sordellii, and C. paraperfringens is described. The test is based on the synergistic haemolysis shown by the clostridia and group B streptococci on sheep and human and CaCl2-supplemented human blood agar. C. perfringens gave crescent-shaped synergistic lytic zones (7 to over 20 mm in length), and C. paraperfringens usually small-sized (3 mm), bullet-shaped reactions on all three types of media. C. bifermentans showed a horseshoe-shaped synergistic reaction only on human blood containing media, and C. sordellii only on CaCl2-supplemented human blood agar. C. perfringens type A antiserum inhibited synergistic lytic activities of the four species. The test provided a reliable method for presumptive identification and differentiation of the four clostridial species and may obviate the need for the Nagler test.
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