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Thayer-Martin agar

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Title: Thayer-Martin agar  
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Subject: Neisseria gonorrhoeae, Agar plate, TMA, Chocolate agar, MTM
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Thayer-Martin agar

Thayer-Martin agar (or Thayer-Martin medium) is a Mueller-Hinton agar with 5% chocolate sheep blood and antibiotics. It is used for culturing and primarily isolating pathogenic Neisseria bacteria, including Neisseria gonorrhoeae and Neisseria meningitidis, as the medium inhibits the growth of most other microorganisms. When growing Neisseria meningitidis, one usually starts with a normally sterile body fluid (blood or CSF), so a plain chocolate agar is used. Thayer-Martin agar was initially developed in 1964, with an improved formulation published in 1966.[1][2][3]


It usually contains the following combination of antibiotics, called VCN inhibitor

  • Colistin, which is added to kill most Gram-negative organisms except Neisseria, although some other Gram-negative organisms such as Legionella are also resistant
  • SXT, which inhibits Gram-negative organisms, especially swarming Proteus

Clinical implications

A negative culture on Thayer-Martin in a patient exhibiting symptoms of pelvic inflammatory disease most likely indicates an infection with Chlamydia trachomatis.


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