Acid Fast Bacilli (AFB) Culture

Laboratory Fee Schedule

Procedure: MZZ0062A

CPT: 87116


Synonym(s): Mycobacterial culture, isolation
Requisition Form G-MYCO
Test Description Isolation of mycobacteria from culture 
Pre-Approval Needed N/A
Supplemental Information Required N/A
Supplemental Form(s) N/A
Performed on Specimens from (sources)
  • Sputum
  • Tissue
  • Exudate
  • Stool
  • Body Fluids 
Sample/Specimen Type for Testing Clinical specimen from human
Minimum Volume/Size Required 3 mL to 15 mL
Storage/Preservation Prior to Shipping
  • Transport specimen as soon as possible on cold packs.
  • If transport is delayed over one hour, refrigerate specimen.
Transport Medium
  • Do not use transport medium.  
  • A sterile, leak-proof, 50 mL conical tube preferred for primary container.  
  • Add up to 10 mL sterile saline to tissue, if needed to maintain moisture during transport.
Specimen Labeling
  • Two patient-specific identifiers required (e.g., patient full name, date of birth, Medical record number)
  • Identifiers on specimen must exactly match submission form.
Shipping and Specimen Handling Requirements
  • Ship according to Dangerous Goods Regulations, IATA, and/or CFR 49
  • Category B shipping applies
  • Please ship specimens overnight and preferably on cold pack.
Method Culture is performed on solid Middlebrook medium and in the liquid BACTEC MGIT culture medium
Turn-around Time All cultures are monitored for 42 days, or until positive.
Interferences/Limitations Delay in transport of specimen could compromise isolation of mycobacteria.
Common Causes for Rejection
  • Specimen leaked in transit. 
  • Missing identifier(s) on specimen container. 
  • No test requested on G-MYCO requisition form. 
  • Specimens received frozen, in formalin, or in culture medium will be rejected.
  • Swabs are discouraged unless the only specimen available; submit swabs in 5 mL sterile saline. 
  • Gastric specimens must be neutralized prior to transport.
Additional Information
  • Contaminated liquid BACTEC MGIT cultures may be reprocessed and re-incubated in new culture medium per product package insert.  This may cause a delay of the final culture report.