The metabolic profile obtained with a particular bacterial isolate is essentially the phenotypic fingerprint, or signature, of that organism. Typically, the profile is recorded as a series of pluses (+) for positive reactions and minuses (-) for negative or nonreactions (Figure 7-18). Although this profile by itself provides little information, microbiologists can compare the profile with an extensive identification database to establish the identity of that spedfic isolate.
Reference databases are available for clinical use. These databases are maintained by manufacturers of identification systems and are based on the continuously
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