Acid Fast Bacilli (AFB) Specimen Concentration

Laboratory Fee Schedule

Procedure: MAG0066A

CPT: 87015



Mycobacteria specimen concentration, specimen decontamination, specimen digestion

Requisition Form


Test Description

Processing of non-sterile specimens for the growth and detection of mycobacteria

Pre-Approval Needed


Supplemental Information Required


Supplemental Form(s)


Performed on Specimens from (sources)

  • Sputum
  • Exudate
  • Stool
  • Badly contaminated tissues/body fluids

Sample/Specimen Type for Testing

Clinical specimen

Minimum Volume/Size Required

3 mL to 15 mL

Storage/Preservation Prior to Shipping

Transport specimen as soon as possible on cold pack. 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    

Ship on frozen cold packs if at all possible!


N-Acetyl-L-cysteine (NALC)- sodium hydroxide (NaOH) digestion-decontamination

Turn-around Time



Delay in transport of specimen could compromise isolation of organism.

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

Mycobacteria are recovered optimally from clinical specimens when methods both to release them from body fluids and cells (digestion) and remove/reduce competing organisms (decontamination) are used.