Staphylococcus Species Identification [Test in Focus]

In this "Test In Focus" , Audrey Schuetz, M.D., co-director of Mayo Clinic's Bacteriology Laboratory, explains how Mayo Clinic Laboratories provides a solution for the detection and identification of Staphylococcus species, including S. argenteus and S. schweitzeri.

Being able to differentiate amongst Staphylococcus species is important for pathogenicity and antimicrobial interpretation. But traditional microbial identification methods may be limited in their ability to differentiate among some species.

Recently, two novel members of the Staphylococcus aureus complex have been described: Staphylococcus argenteus and Staphylococcus schweitzeri. Although data on the epidemiology, clinical significance, and nosocomial impact for these species remain somewhat limited, S. argenteus is known to cause clinically significant disease in humans.

To support appropriate treatment of Staphylococcus infections, antimicrobial susceptibility testing guidelines published by the Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute (M100 guidelines) recently have been updated with susceptibility breakpoint criteria for these S. aureus complex species (anticipated publish date of March 2021). Speciating Staphylococcus organisms is essential to working with these guidelines.

To improve the evidence base for future decisions for surveillance, for understanding of clinical significance and for implementation of appropriate infection control measures, suitably equipped laboratories are encouraged to accurately identify S. argenteus and S. schweitzeri.

Listen to learn more from Dr. Schuetz about Mayo Clinic Laboratories' work in this area, as well as how the detection and identification of Staphylococcus species will allow for a better understanding of these organisms by tracking them moving forward and, ultimately, will help provide more appropriate patient care.


Useful for:

  • Identification of pure isolates of aerobic bacteria
  • Differentiation of members of the Staphylococcus aureus complex ( S aureus, S argenteus, S schweitzeri)

Specimen Requirements

Specimen Type


Specimen Required 

Specimen Type: Pure culture of organism from source cultured

Container/Tube: Agar slant or other appropriate media

Preferred: Ambient

Specimen Volume: Entire specimen

Collection Instructions:

  1. Perform isolation of infecting bacteria.
  2. Bacterial organism must be submitted in pure culture, actively growing. Do not submit mixed cultures.

Performance Information

Day(s) and Time(s) Test Performed

Monday through Sunday; Continuously

Analytic Time

5 Days

Samantha Rossi (@samantharossi)

Samantha Rossi

Samantha Rossi is a Digital Marketing Manager at Mayo Clinic Laboratories. She supports marketing strategies for product management and specialty testing. Samantha has worked at Mayo Clinic since 2019.