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Hemolysis

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Topic updated on 02/16/16 4:24pm

Overview
  • Some bacteria cause hemolysis (breakdown of RBCs) when grown on blood agar
    • the type of hemolysis present can be used to classify the bacteria
  • Alpha hemolysis
    • dark and greenish
    • "partial" hemolysis
    • bacteria include
      • Streptococcus pneumoniae
      • Viridans group streptococci
  • Beta hemolysis
    • transparent
    • "complete" hemolysis
    • bacteria include
      • Staphylococcus aureus
      • Streptococcus pyogenes (group A strep)
      • Streptococcus agalactiae (group B strep)
      • Listeria monocytogenes
  • Gamma hemolysis
    • unchanged
    • "no hemolysis"
    • bacteria include
      • Enterococcus faecalis (group D strep)
        • can also be alpha hemolytic
  • Notice that hemolysis is generally used to distinguish strains of Streptococcus, but that Staphylococcus aureus and Listeria also have characteristic hemolytic properties


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