How microbiological tests reflect bacterial pathogenesis and host adaptation

Luisella Spiga, Angel G. Jimenez, Renato L. Santos, Sebastian E. Winter

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Historically, clinical microbiological laboratories have often relied on isolation of pure cultures and phenotypic testing to identify microorganisms. These clinical tests are often based on specific biochemical reactions, growth characteristics, colony morphology, and other physiological aspects. The features used for identification in clinical laboratories are highly conserved and specific for a given group of microbes. We speculate that these features might be the result of evolutionary selection and thus may reflect aspects of the life cycle of the organism and pathogenesis. Indeed, several of the metabolic pathways targeted by diagnostic tests in some cases may represent mechanisms for host colonization or pathogenesis. Examples include, but are not restricted to, Staphylococcus aureus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Salmonella enterica, Shigella spp., and enteroinvasive Escherichia coli (EIEC). Here, we provide an overview of how some common tests reflect molecular mechanisms of bacterial pathogenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1745-1753
Number of pages9
JournalBrazilian Journal of Microbiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • Bacteria
  • Bacterial culture
  • Diagnostic tests
  • Metabolism
  • Pathogenesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology


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