Reditus Laboratories is expanding into microbiology testing to help doctors to determine appropriate antibiotic therapy to fight urinary tract infections (UTIs) and wound infections.

Reditus has built a microbiology lab where Reditus lab professionals will test urine and wound samples for bacteria, viruses and other microorganisms that can cause disease.

Some tests look for specific pathogens. But tests in the microbiology lab will look for any pathogens and flora, explained Hillary Cerven, Reditus technical supervisor of microbiology, and April Robley, Reditus microbiology lead.

“It’s a generalized picture of what’s growing in that area,” Robley said. “It gives you a broader clinical picture.”

Development of the microbiology lab is part of Reditus’ evolution into a full-service lab.

“Physicians coming here for other testing no longer need to send these specimens elsewhere for testing,” Robley said.

Microbiology is the study of the biology of microscopic organisms, such as viruses, bacteria, algae, fungi, slime molds and protozoa. At the Reditus microbiology lab, Cerven and Robley specifically will be analyzing patients’ urine and wound specimens for physicians, including urologists, to identify infection.

“After we grow the pathogens, we test against antimicrobial agents and, by those results, we can determine the appropriate antibiotic therapy that the clinician can use for the infection,” Robley said.

“UTIs are among the most predominant infections in the world and are common among women,” Robley said.

“A wound infection usually can be related to diabetes, surgical wounds or bed sores, boils or abscesses,” Cerven said. “It can happen in healthy individuals.”

The process begins in the microbiology lab when the sample is cultured in a step called inoculation. In the first accompanying photo, Robley sets up a urine culture using a standardized inoculum to give quantitative results. Then the culture is incubated. Incubation time depends on the culture type and ranges from 18 to 24 hours and is kept for 2 to 3 days, depending on the culture type.

After incubation, the cultures are read to identify any pathogens, as illustrated by Cerven in the second photo.

Gray and pink in the third photo show that there is a pathogen present. “Now we need to identify the bacteria,” Cerven said.

The bacteria are identified in a test using the MALDI (Matix-Assisted Laser Desorption Ionization). The sample is put into the MALDI for identification, as illustrated in photos four and five.

“Before, it would take 24 hours to get identification of bacteria. Now it takes about 15 seconds,” said Cerven, as she analyzed results in photo six. The next step is to print out the report, as illustrated in photo seven.

“Next, we perform Antimicrobial Susceptibility Testing (AST) to help to determine which antibiotic to use for treatment,” Cerven said. Isolates are selected in photo eight, then inoculated into a broth sample for AST in photo nine.

In photo ten, the broth is run on the Phoenix AP, which will standardize the broth to get the sample ready for the susceptibility panel.

Next, the broth is poured into a panel, as shown in photo 11. “Each well is impregnated with a different antibiotic, at different ranges of doses, to determine which antibiotic is most effective,” Cerven said.

Finally, the panel (shown in photo 12) goes into the Phoenix M50 (shown in photo 13). “The Phoenix M50 will incubate it (the panel) and read it so that, tomorrow, we will have an AST result which will tell us the appropriate antimicrobial therapy,” meaning which antibiotic to use, Cerven said.

A complete urine culture process takes 48 hours (about 2 days), Cerven and Robley said. A complete wound culture process takes 48 to 72 hours (about 3 days), they said.

Doctors interested in sending samples to the Reditus microbiology lab may contact Bryan Zowin, Reditus director of business development, at 309-340-3731.