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Test ID: ACT Actinomyces Culture, Varies

Reporting Name

Actinomyces Culture

Useful For

Diagnosing anaerobic Actinomyces involved in infections

Specimen Type


Shipping Instructions

Specimen should arrive within 72 hours of collection.


See Infectious Specimen Shipping Guidelines in Special Instructions for shipping information. Specimens must be transported in anaerobic transport vials.

Necessary Information

Specimen source is required.

Specimen Required

Supplies: Anaerobe Transport Tube (T588)

Specimen Type: Abscesses, intrauterine devices, percutaneous transtracheal aspirates, sterile body fluids, suprapubic aspirations, wounds

Specimen Volume: Entire specimen

Specimen Stability Information

Specimen Type Temperature Time
Varies Ambient 72 hours

Reference Values

No growth

Identification of probable pathogens

Day(s) Performed

Monday through Sunday

Test Classification

This test has been cleared, approved, or is exempt by the US Food and Drug Administration and is used per manufacturer's instructions. Performance characteristics were verified by Mayo Clinic in a manner consistent with CLIA requirements.

CPT Code Information

87075-Actinomyces culture

62258-Id MALDI-TOF Mass Spec Anaerobe (if appropriate)

87153-Anaerobe identification by sequencing (if appropriate)

87176-Tissue processing (if appropriate)

LOINC Code Information

Test ID Test Order Name Order LOINC Value
ACT Actinomyces Culture 9816-0


Result ID Test Result Name Result LOINC Value
ACT Actinomyces Culture 9816-0

Reflex Tests

Test ID Reporting Name Available Separately Always Performed
ISAN Anaerobe Ident by Sequencing No, (Bill Only) No
TISSR Tissue Processing No, (Bill Only) No
RMALA Id MALDI-TOF Mass Spec Anaerobe No, (Bill Only) No

Testing Algorithm

When this test is ordered, the reflex tests may be performed and charged separately.

Clinical Information

Anaerobic Actinomyces are nonsporeforming, thin branching, gram-positive bacilli that are part of the normal flora of the human oral cavity and may also colonize the gastrointestinal and female genital tracts. Their presence is important in preserving the usual bacterial populations of the mouth and in preventing infection with pathogenic bacteria.


Actinomyces are generally of low pathogenicity but may be an important factor in the development of periodontal disease and may cause soft tissue infections in colonized areas of the body following trauma (surgical or otherwise). The typical lesion consists of an outer zone of granulation around central purulent loculations containing masses of tangled organisms ("sulfur granule"). Chronic burrowing sinus tracts develop. Typical actinomycotic infections occur around the head and neck, in the lung and chest wall, and in the peritoneal cavity and abdominal wall. Actinomycosis of the female genital tract occurs in association with the use of intrauterine contraceptive devices. Purulent collections containing "sulfur granules" may drain from some sinus tracts opening to the skin.


Isolation of anaerobic Actinomyces in significant numbers from well collected specimens including blood, other normally sterile body fluids, or closed collections of purulent fluid indicates infection with the identified organism.

Clinical Reference

1. Summanen P, Baron EJ, Citron DM, Jousimies-Somer HR, et al: Wadsworth Anaerobic Bacteriology Manual, Sixth edition. Belmont CA, Star Publishing Co. 2002

2. Butler-Wu SM, She RC: Actinomyces, Lactobacillus, Cutibacterium, and Other Non-Spore-Forming Anaerobic Gram-Positive Rods. In Manual of Clinical Microbiology. 12th edition. Edited by KC Carroll, MA Pfaller. Washington DC, ASM Press, 2019 Chapters 54, pp 938-967

3. Hall, GS: Anaerobic Gram-Positive Bacilli. In Clinical Microbiology Procedures Handbook. Fourth edition. Vol. 1. Edited by AL Leber. Washington DC, ASM Press, 2016

Report Available

14 to 20 days

Method Name

Conventional Culture Techniques

Mayo Clinic Laboratories | Microbiology and Infectious Disease Catalog Additional Information: