Infective Endocarditis: Identification of Catalase-Negative, Gram-Positive Cocci from Blood Cultures by Partial 16S rRNA Gene Analysis and by Vitek 2 Examination

Rawaa Jalil Abdul-Redha 1, Michael Kemp 1, Jette M Bangsborg 2, Magnus Arpi 2, Jens Jørgen Christensen 1, *
1 Department of Bacteriology, Mycology and Parasitology, Statens Serum Institut; Department of Clinical Microbiology
2 Herlev University Hospital, *Present address, Slagelse Hospital; Copenhagen, Denmark

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© Abdul-Redha et al.; Licensee Bentham Open.

open-access license: This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Clinical Microbiology, Slagelse Hospital, Ingemannsvej 18, 4200 Slagelse, Denmark; Tel: +4558559421; Fax: +45 5855 9410; E-mail:


Streptococci, enterococci and Streptococcus-like bacteria are frequent etiologic agents of infective endocarditis and correct species identification can be a laboratory challenge. Viridans streptococci (VS) not seldomly cause contamination of blood cultures. Vitek 2 and partial sequencing of the 16S rRNA gene were applied in order to compare the results of both methods.

Strains originated from two groups of patients: 149 strains from patients with infective endocarditis and 181 strains assessed as blood culture contaminants. Of the 330 strains, based on partial 16S rRNA gene sequencing results, 251 (76%) were VS strains, 10 (3%) were pyogenic streptococcal strains, 54 (16%) were E. faecalis strains and 15 (5%) strains belonged to a group of miscellaneous catalase-negative, Gram-positive cocci. Among VS strains, respectively, 220 (87,6%) and 31 (12,3%) obtained agreeing and non-agreeing identifications with the two methods with respect to allocation to the same VS group. Non-agreeing species identification mostly occurred among strains in the contaminant group, while for endocarditis strains notably fewer disagreeing results were observed.

Only 67 of 150 strains in the mitis group strains obtained identical species identifications by the two methods. Most VS strains belonging to the groups of salivarius, anginosus, and mutans obtained agreeing species identifications with the two methods, while this only was the case for 13 of the 21 bovis strains. Pyogenic strains (n=10), Enterococcus faecalis strains (n=54) and a miscellaneous group of catalase-negative, Gram-positive cocci (n=15) seemed well identified by both methods, except that disagreements in identifications in the miscellaneous group of strains occurred for 6 of 15 strains.

Keywords: Infective endocarditis, viridans streptococci (VS), non-hemolytic streptococci, enterococci, Streptococcus-like bacteria, Vitek 2 GP card, partial 16S rRNA gene sequence analysis.