Effect of Cetylpyridinium Chloride (CPC) on Colony Formation of Common Nontuberculous Mycobacteria
Williams, Myra D.
Falkinham, Joseph O. III
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Cetylpyridinium chloride (CPC) is widely used to decontaminate water samples for the cultivation of nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM). The rationale for using CPC is that it kills more non mycobacteria than NTM and thereby prevents the outgrowth and detection of mycobacterial colonies on solid media. The few CPC-susceptibility measurements that have been published, suggest that CPC-decontamination does kill significant numbers of NTM. We confirm that observation here and further demonstrate that CPC-susceptibility varied significantly by one log between representative NTM species and between strains of the same species. CPC-susceptibility was the same for cells collected from cultures or water-acclimated (P = 0.6485, T-test) and CPC-susceptibility was relatively similar over the range of commonly employed CPC dosages. We conclude that use of CPC as decontaminating agent may lead to failure to recover an NTM isolate and considerable underestimates of NTM numbers.