Antimicrobial Susceptibility

Antibiotic and Antimycotic sensitivity is the susceptibility of bacteria to antibiotics and fungi or yeast to antimycotic. Antibiotic susceptibility testing (AST) is usually carried out to determine which antibiotic will be most successful in treating a bacterial infection in vivo. Testing for antibiotic sensitivity is often done by the Kirby-Bauer method. Small wafers containing antibiotics are placed onto a plate upon which bacteria are growing. If the bacteria are sensitive to the antibiotic, a clear ring, or zone of inhibition, is seen around the wafer indicating poor growth. Other methods to test antimicrobial susceptibility include the Stokes method, E-test (also based on antibiotic diffusion). Agar and Broth dilution methods for Minimum Inhibitory Concentration determination.


Ideal antibiotic or antymicotic therapy is based on determination of the aetiological agent and its relevant antibiotic/antimycotic sensitivity. Empiric treatment is often started before laboratory microbiological reports are available when treatment should not be delayed due to the seriousness of the disease. The effectiveness of individual antibiotics varies with the location of the infection, the ability of the antibiotic to reach the site of infection, and the ability of the bacteria to resist or inactivate the antibiotic.