Mycobacterium – Referred Cultures

Consistent with O. Reg. 671/92 of the French Language Services Act, laboratory testing information on this page is only available in English because it is scientific or technical in nature and is for use only by qualified health care providers and not by members of the public.

Specimen Collection and Handling

Specimen Requirements

Test Requested Required Requisition(s) Specimen Type Minimum Volume Collection Kit


Acid Fast Bacillus (AFB)



Submission and Collection Notes


Submit viable growth of an Acid Fast Bacillus (AFB) on solid or in liquid Mycobacterium culture medium.


Contaminated or non-viable cultures will not be tested.


Drug susceptibility testing on nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) must be requested after culture identification by contacting the Public Health Ontario (PHO) laboratory for approval. Requests must be made within 3 months of specimen identification. (See Test Information Index: Mycobacteria – NTM Susceptibility).


Identification assays can only be performed on cultures and not direct from specimens.

Storage and Transport

Label the specimen container with the patient’s full name, date of collection and one other unique identifier such as the patient’s date of birth or Health Card Number. Failure to provide this information may result in rejection or testing delay.

Special Instructions

Place culture in a biohazard bag and seal.

Requisitions and Kit Ordering

Test Frequency and Turnaround Time (TAT)

Speciation of mycobacterial cultures is performed daily Monday to Friday.

Turnaround time is up to 7 days from receipt by PHO laboratory.

Test Methods

Mycobacteria are identified by MALDI-TOF, the GenoType Mycobacterium line-probe assay test (Hain Lifescience), MPT64 protein test (SD Bioline) or by sequence analysis.


Results are reported to the submitting laboratory as indicated on the requisition.

All new isolates of Mycobacterium tuberculosis are telephoned to the submitting laboratory within 24 hours of identification.

Specimens that are positive for Mycobacterium tuberculosis are reported to the Medical Officer of Health as per Health Protection and Promotion Act.

contact lab

Contact Laboratory Customer Service

Laboratory Services

Updated 20 July 2020