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Catalase Test Send Print

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Created: Thursday, 11 November 2010
Last update: Thursday, 01 November 2012
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Slide Catalase Test Results

Slide catalase test results. Hydrogen peroxide was added directly to the culture on a microscope slide. A positive reaction produced by Staphylococcus aureus is indicated by bubbling; a negative reaction produced by Streptococcus pyogenes is indicated by lack of bubbling. (Karen Reiner, Andrews University, Berrien Springs, MI)

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Positive Catalase Reaction Produced by Staphylococcus aureus

A positive catalase reaction produced by Staphylococcus aureus. Using a wooden applicator stick, a small amount of organism from a well-isolated 24-hour colony was collected and placed into the test tube containing hydrogen peroxide. A positive result is indicated by bubbling. (Karen Reiner, Andrews University, Berrien Springs, MI)

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Negative Catalase Reaction Produced by Streptococcus pyogenes

A negative catalase reaction produced by Streptococcus pyogenes. Using a wooden applicator stick, a small amount of organism from a well-isolated 24-hour colony was collected and placed into the test tube containing hydrogen peroxide. A negative result is indicated by lack of bubbling. (Karen Reiner, Andrews University, Berrien Springs, MI)

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Positive Catalase Reaction Produced by Staphylococcus aureus

A positive catalase reaction produced by Staphylococcus aureus. Hydrogen peroxide was added directly to 24-hour growth on a nutrient agar slant. A positive result is indicated by bubbling. (Karen Reiner, Andrews University, Berrien Springs, MI)

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Negative Catalase Reaction Produced by Streptococcus pyogenes

A negative catalase reaction produced by Streptococcus pyogenes. Hydrogen peroxide was added directly to 24-hour growth on a nutrient agar slant. A negative result is indicated by lack of bubbling. (Karen Reiner, Andrews University, Berrien Springs, MI)

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Application of the Catalase Test

An application of the catalase test. On the top left is an uninoculated mannitol salt agar plate (pink).  On the top right, a coagulase-positive staphylococci from an infection in a 10-month old infant is growing on a mannitol salt agar plate. A slide catalase test result is also given. A drop of hydrogen peroxide is shown on the left and the catalase-positive staphylococci from the infection on the right. Hydrogen peroxide was added directly to the culture on the microscope slide. A positive reaction is indicated by bubbling. (Clarissa L. Kaup, Bellevue University, Bellevue, NE; J. L. Henriksen, Bellevue University, Bellevue, NE)

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Application of the Catalase Test

An application of the catalase test. A coagulase-positive staphylococci isolated from the anterior nares of a healthy 9-year-old female is growing on a mannitol salt agar plate. The culture fermented mannitol, typical of Staphylococcus aureus, but also created a thick, viscous film that grew on the plastic sides and lid of the petri plate, a growth pattern not typical of S. aureus. A slide catalase test result is also given. A drop of hydrogen peroxide is shown on the left and the catalase-positive staphylococci on the right. Hydrogen peroxide was added directly to the culture on the microscope slide. A positive reaction is indicated by bubbling. (Clarissa L. Kaup, Bellevue University, Bellevue, NE; J. L. Henriksen, Bellevue University, Bellevue, NE)

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Slide Catalase Test Results

Slide catalase test results. Hydrogen peroxide was added directly to the culture on a microscope slide. A positive reaction is indicated by bubbling. (Diane Hartman, Baylor University, Waco, TX)

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Positive Catalase Reaction

A positive catalase reaction. Hydrogen peroxide was added directly to 24-hour growth on a tryptic soy agar slant. A positive result is indicated by bubbling. (Diane Hartman, Baylor University, Waco, TX)

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Negative Catalase Reaction


A negative catalase reaction. Hydrogen peroxide was added directly to 24-hour growth on a tryptic soy agar slant. A negative result is indicated by lack of bubbling. (Diane Hartman, Baylor University, Waco, TX)

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Positive Catalase Reaction Produced by Staphylococcus aureus

A positive catalase reaction produced by Staphylococcus aureus. Hydrogen peroxide was added directly to 24-hour growth on a nutrient agar plate. A positive result is indicated by bubbling. (Tasha Sturm, Cabrillo College, Aptos, CA)

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Positive Catalase Reaction Produced by Staphylococcus aureus (enlarged view)

A positive catalase reaction produced by Staphylococcus aureus. Hydrogen peroxide was added directly to 24-hour growth on a nutrient agar plate. A positive result is indicated by bubbling. (enlarged view) (Tasha Sturm, Cabrillo College, Aptos, CA)

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Slide Catalase Test of Proteus vulgaris

This figure shows a positive catalase slide test alongside a negative result. Hydrogen peroxide is added directly to a sample placed on a clean microscope slide. A positive result, illustrated by Proteus vulgaris, shows bubbling. A negative result, illustrated by Enterococcus faecalis, shows no bubbling.

The enzyme catalase converts hydrogen peroxide into water and oxygen, thus helping an organism cope with toxic O₂ species.  The catalase test is used to detect an organism’s ability to produce catalase. In a  clinical setting, the catalase test can be used to differentiate various Gram-positive cocci, such as among the Staphylococci and Streptococci, and to confirm  identification of various pathogens. (Elizabeth Caluag, Coastline Community College, Fountain Valley, CA)

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