Amies Transport Medium Composition, Principle, Preparation, Results, Uses

Amies Transport Medium is an enhanced transport medium that incorporates charcoal to extend the viability of pathogenic organisms. It is a semi-solid medium designed for the qualitative transportation of clinical swab specimens to the laboratory. This medium is a modification of Stuart’s Transport Medium, where glycerophosphate is substituted with an inorganic phosphate buffer, and charcoal is introduced. This adaptation has shown a higher rate of positive results compared to the Stuart’s transport medium.

Composition of Amies Transport Medium

Component Composition
Charcoal Present
Sodium Chloride 0.5g
Potassium Dihydrogen Phosphate 0.2g
Disodium Hydrogen Phosphate 0.2g
Calcium Chloride 0.02g
Magnesium Sulfate 0.02g
Sodium Thioglycollate 1.0g
Agar 3.0g
Distilled Water To make 1000ml

Principle of Amies Transport Medium

Amies Transport Medium operates on several key principles to ensure the viability and preservation of microorganisms during the transit of clinical specimens:

  • Moist Environment:

The medium provides a moist environment to prevent desiccation (drying out) of the collected specimen. This is crucial for the survival of delicate microorganisms.

  • Nutrient Support:

It contains a combination of salts, phosphates, and other nutrients that offer a supportive environment for the microorganisms. This helps maintain their metabolic activity during transit.

  • Buffering Capacity:

The presence of phosphate buffers helps maintain a stable pH, which is important for the survival of many microorganisms. It prevents drastic changes in pH that could be detrimental.

  • Activated Charcoal:

Charcoal acts as a detoxifying agent by absorbing toxic substances that may be present in the specimen. This helps in preserving the viability of the microorganisms.

  • Reduced Oxygen Tension:

The semi-solid nature of the medium reduces the availability of oxygen. This is beneficial for anaerobic microorganisms, as well as those that are sensitive to oxygen.

  • Maintains Pathogenicity:

The medium is specifically designed to preserve the pathogenicity of microorganisms. This is critical for accurate diagnosis and subsequent treatment planning.

  • Minimized Swab Exposure:

The medium is intended to ensure minimal exposure of the swab to external contaminants during transport. This helps maintain the integrity of the specimen.

  • Compatibility with Specimen Types:

Amies Transport Medium is suitable for a wide range of specimen types, including swabs from various anatomical sites.

Preparation of Amies Transport Medium

The preparation of Amies Transport Medium involves several steps. Here’s a simplified protocol:


  • Charcoal
  • Sodium Chloride
  • Potassium Dihydrogen Phosphate
  • Disodium Hydrogen Phosphate
  • Calcium Chloride
  • Magnesium Sulfate
  • Sodium Thioglycollate
  • Agar
  • Distilled Water


  • Weigh and measure out the required quantities of each component based on the provided composition.
  • In a large container, add distilled water. This will serve as the solvent for the various components.
  • Gradually add and dissolve each component in the water. Stir the mixture to ensure even distribution.
  • Once all the components are thoroughly dissolved, heat the solution gently to ensure complete mixing. Avoid overheating.
  • Sterilize the mixture using an autoclave to eliminate any potential contaminants. This will also help solidify the agar.
  • After autoclaving, allow the medium to cool down to a temperature suitable for handling, but ensure it remains in a semi-solid state.
  • Pour the medium into sterile containers, leaving some headspace to allow for expansion if necessary.
  • Seal the containers to maintain sterility.
  • Label the containers with necessary information such as medium type, date of preparation, and any other relevant details.
  • Store the prepared Amies Transport Medium in a cool, dark place until ready for use.

Result Interpretation on Amies Transport Medium

Interpretation of results in Amies Transport Medium can vary depending on the type of specimen and the specific microorganisms being studied.

Observation Interpretation
No Growth No viable microorganisms present in the specimen
Growth of Pathogens Presence of potentially pathogenic microorganisms
Contaminated Presence of external contaminants in the specimen
Reduced Viability Microorganisms exhibit reduced viability or metabolic activity
Unchanged Viability Microorganisms maintain normal viability and metabolic activity
Increased Viability Microorganisms exhibit enhanced viability or metabolic activity

Please note that this is a generic example and actual interpretation would depend on the specific microorganisms being studied and the purpose of the culture. Additionally, clinical laboratories may have specific guidelines for result interpretation based on their protocols and the nature of the specimen.

Uses of Amies Transport Medium

Amies Transport Medium finds its application in various clinical and laboratory settings for the transportation and preservation of clinical specimens.

  • Microbiological Testing:

It is widely used for transporting swab specimens collected from various anatomical sites for microbiological analysis. This includes cultures for bacterial, viral, and fungal pathogens.

  • Respiratory Specimens:

Amies Transport Medium is commonly used for collecting specimens from the respiratory tract, including throat swabs, nasal swabs, and nasopharyngeal swabs. These specimens are crucial for diagnosing respiratory infections.

  • Wound Cultures:

Swabs from wound sites can be stored in Amies Transport Medium to maintain the viability of potential pathogens, aiding in the identification of causative agents of wound infections.

  • Genital Specimens:

It is utilized for collecting and transporting samples from the genital tract, including vaginal and cervical swabs. This is particularly important for diagnosing sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

  • Transportation to the Laboratory:

Amies Transport Medium helps ensure that specimens remain viable during transit from the collection site to the laboratory. This is critical for accurate and reliable diagnostic results.

  • Virology Studies:

It can be used for the transportation of specimens for virology studies, including the isolation of viruses from clinical samples.

  • Molecular Testing:

Some laboratories may also use Amies Transport Medium for molecular testing, including PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) and other nucleic acid-based assays.

  • Quality Control:

It can be used in quality control procedures to validate the efficacy of transport systems and swab collection techniques.

  • Research and Surveillance:

Amies Transport Medium is valuable in research studies and public health surveillance efforts, especially in monitoring the prevalence of specific pathogens in a population.

  • Forensic Testing:

In forensic investigations, it may be used for collecting swab samples from crime scenes for subsequent analysis.

Limitations of Amies Transport Medium

While Amies Transport Medium is a valuable tool for preserving and transporting clinical specimens, it does have some limitations. Here are a few:

  • Limited Viability:

The medium may not be suitable for certain fastidious or delicate microorganisms that require specific environmental conditions or nutrients for survival.

  • Moist Environment Requirement:

In some cases, excessive moisture in the medium may lead to the overgrowth of certain bacteria or fungi, potentially masking the presence of pathogens.

  • Specific Swab Types:

Some swab types may not be compatible with Amies Transport Medium, potentially affecting the quality of the specimen.

  • Storage Conditions:

Improper storage conditions can lead to alterations in the medium’s composition, potentially affecting its performance. It should be stored at the recommended temperature and protected from light.

  • Charcoal Particles:

Charcoal particles in the medium may interfere with certain laboratory procedures, especially those involving microscopy.

  • Duration of Transport:

Prolonged transport times, especially for specimens that are not processed promptly, may lead to a decline in the viability of some microorganisms.

  • Transport of Anaerobic Microorganisms:

While the semi-solid nature of the medium reduces oxygen availability, it may not be suitable for the transport of strictly anaerobic microorganisms.

  • Compatibility with Molecular Testing:

In some cases, the presence of certain components in the medium may interfere with molecular testing methods such as PCR.

  • Cost Consideration:

Amies Transport Medium may be more costly compared to other transport media, which could be a consideration for budget-conscious laboratories.

  • Potential for Contamination:

If the medium is not handled aseptically during specimen collection or processing, there is a risk of contamination.

Disclaimer: This article is provided for informational purposes only, based on publicly available knowledge. It is not a substitute for professional advice, consultation, or medical treatment. Readers are strongly advised to seek guidance from qualified professionals, advisors, or healthcare practitioners for any specific concerns or conditions. The content on is presented as general information and is provided “as is,” without any warranties or guarantees. Users assume all risks associated with its use, and we disclaim any liability for any damages that may occur as a result.

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