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Specimen Collection & Preparation

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Microbiology Organisms


Step 1:

Verify the Specimen is a Microbiological Actively Growing, Pure Culture

In the Test Catalog, use the Specimen tab and Clinical and Interpretive tab of each test to identify:

  • Specimen requirements
  • Specimen container requirements
  • Specimen stability (temperature) requirements
  • Required forms or special instructions

Containers must be capable of withstanding, without leakage, an internal pressure of 95 kPa in the range of -40C to 55C.

Note: We do not accept culture plates.


Step 2:

Label the Specimen

Specimens must have two (2) person-specific identifiers on the patient label. Person-specific identifiers include:

  • Accession number
  • Patient's first and last name
  • Unique identifying number (eg, medical record number)
  • Date of birth

Mislabeled Specimens

Specimens are considered mislabeled when there is a mismatch between the person-specific identifiers on the specimen and the information accompanying the specimen. This information might include a computer system, requisition form, or additional paperwork.

In addition, if there is a handwritten name on the container and a label on the container, the information must match exactly. For example, "Rebecca" does not match "Becky." When insufficient or inconsistent identification is submitted, a new specimen may be required.


Step 3:

Place the Culture in a Secondary Leak-Proof Container

Containers must be capable of withstanding, without leakage, an internal pressure of 95 kPa in the range of -40°C to 55°C.

Infectous Container

T146 Infectious Container

The Infectious Container (T146) is leakproof and includes bubble wrap (to prevent breakage) and an absorbent material inside. If multiple microbiology specimens are sent, each specimen must be transported in its own container.


Step 4:

Package the Specimen in a Biohazard Bag

Biohazard Shipping Bags

T229 Refrigerate Bag - pink
T027 Ambient Bag - white
T121 Frozen Bag - yellow


Place the tube or container in a Mayo Medical Laboratories color-coded (temperature-specific) shipping bag.












12x15 Biohazard Bag

T043 Biohazard Bag - 12x15              
Use if your container is too
large for color-coded bags.
Mark it Frozen, Refrigerate
or Room Temp (Ambient).


Electronic Clients:

  • Clients who submit electronic orders will have a batch order. Place all specimens for the temperature-specific batch number into one bag. If all the specimens do not fit, use a larger biohazard bag (T043) and indicate the shipping temperature.
  • Do not place multiple batches into one bag.







If you are not using a bag supplied by Mayo Medical Laboratories:
  • The bag must be leakproof.
  • There must be absorbent material between the primary receptacle (tube/container) and the secondary packaging (bag) that is able to absorb the entire contents of the bag.
  • Wrap any breakable tubes individually in bubble wrap (T055).

Step 5:

Package Batch Sheets and Forms

Folded batch sheet in outside pocket of bag

Folded batch sheet with
bar code and delivery
address visible

Electronic Clients

Clients who submit electronic orders will have a batch sheet. The bottom of the batch sheet lists the number of pages (eg, 1 of 3). Fold the batch sheets in fourths and place them in the outside pocket of the bag. If there is no pocket, place them inside the bag with the specimens. Include all pages in the corresponding bag. Delivery address and bar code if applicable must be visible. Do not combine multiple batches into 1 bag.

Manual Clients

Clients who do not order electronically must include a completed Test Request form with each patient specimen. Our Customized Test Request Form generator provides the Test Request form and all other required forms for the specified test. Complete and print all forms included, then fold and insert the forms into the outside pocket of the biohazard bag. If there is no pocket, place them inside the bag with the specimen.


Step 6:

Place a Blue "C" Culture Label on the Bag

Biohazard Bag with batch sheet

Biohazard bag with two containers,
folded batch sheet with bar code
visible, and C sticker.

Verify that your test appears on the Microbiology Culture Test List. Place a blue "C" culture label (T549) on the shipping bag to identify it as an actively growing culture.

It is also acceptable to place the C sticker on the batch sheet, making sure the C sticker shows through the bag when the batch sheet is folded.



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