Oxidase Test

This test is used to identify microorganisms containing the enzyme cytochrome oxidase (important in the electron transport chain). It is commonly used to distinguish between oxidase negative Enterobacteriaceae and oxidase positive Pseudomadaceae.

Cytochrome oxidase transfers electrons from the electron transport chain to oxygen (the final electron acceptor) and reduces it to water. In the oxidase test, artificial electron donors and acceptors are provided. When the electron donor is oxidized by cytochrome oxidase it turns a dark purple. This is considered a positive result. In the picture below the organism on the right (Pseudomonas aeruginosa) is oxidase positive.

oxidase results