AIMS: To compare CCFA (cycloserine, cefoxitin fructose agar) with a new selective medium CDMN (containing cysteine hydrochloride, norfloxacin, and moxalactam) for the isolation of Clostridium difficile after direct faecal culture. METHODS: The minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) of norfloxacin was determined for 64 strains of C difficile, 17 strains of other Clostridium sp, and 66 various isolates of faecal origin, together with MIC determinations of moxalactam against the 81 strains of Clostridium sp and 15 isolates of Bacteroides sp. Using C difficile agar base with 0.5 g/l of cysteine hydrochloride, norfloxacin and moxalactam were incorporated into the medium and compared with CCFA for the isolation of C difficile after direct faecal culture. RESULTS: Norfloxacin (12 mg/l) inhibited the growth of enterobacteriaceae and faecal streptococci; moxalactam (32 mg/l) inhibited the growth of most strains of Bacteroides sp tested, together with Clostridium sp other than C difficile. Using the antibiotics in combination (CDMN), the growth and colonial morphology of 64 strains of C difficile were unaffected. When CDMN medium was compared with CCFA for the isolation of C difficile from 832 faeces from inpatients with diarrhoea, the CDMN agar isolated 20% more strains and reduced the number of contaminating colonies by 30%. CONCLUSIONS: CDMN both improves the isolation rate of C difficile from faecal specimens and reduces the growth of other organisms compared with CCFA.
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