Traditionally it has been difficult or impossible to collect and preserve bacterial samples of especially fastidious bacteria in mixed primary cultures, unless the samples could be transported to a laboratory within approximately 24 h. Therefore, a simple novel method for preserving swab samples until bacterial isolation can be completed in the laboratory was developed and evaluated. Pasteurellaceae bacteria were used as a representative for fastidious bacteria. A 7.5% glucose serum medium was used as freeze medium. Swab samples were soaked in the medium a maximum of 2 h after collection and stored at -20°C. As a control study, 15 samples were collected from the oral cavity of a captive brown bear. One was immediately plated, while the remaining 12 swabs were stored at -20°C for 7 days and multiples of 30 days up to 330 days prior to plating. Two samples were stored without the medium for 7 and 30 days prior to plating. From a field setting in Greenland, eight polar bear samples were collected and subsequently stored for 240 to 259 days at -20°C before incubation. Pasteurellaceae bacteria were isolated and genotyped from all samples stored in the freeze medium, indicating that the medium enabled the bacteria to survive for at least 330 days at -20°C. The 100% recovery of target organisms in the polar bear samples even following lengthy storage and transport demonstrates that the method is very useful under remote field conditions.
Open Microbiology Journal, 2013, Vol 2, Issue 5, p. 795-797