The Microbiology department at Northern Light Laboratory is a very progressive department providing a broad range of diagnostic services for infectious diseases. It is staffed by skilled, dedicated technologists who maintain the highest quality of testing. Our Microbiology department serves as a reference laboratory for many other laboratories.

The Microbiology department is composed of the following specialized sections:


The Bacteriology section cultures all types of patient specimens to detect the presence of pathogenic bacteria. A culture includes isolation and identification of aerobic and anaerobic bacteria and antibiotic susceptibility testing. Our Microbiology department uses the latest technologies and instrumentation and was the first laboratory in the Northeast to utilize MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry to rapidly identify bacteria and yeast.

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The Molecular section tests patient samples for infectious agents by detecting the presence of nucleic acids of the suspected organism(s). Molecular testing is much faster and more sensitive than culture for certain organisms. It also enables detection of organisms that are very difficult to culture. Our molecular menu includes influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), herpes simplex types 1 and 2, varicella zoster virus, sexually transmitted diseases (chlamydia, Neisseria gonorrhoeae, and Trichomonas vaginalis), pertussis, Clostridium difficile, and quantitative hepatitis C virus.

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The Virology section cultures for viruses using shell vial cell culture, a technique that is more rapid and sensitive than standard viral culture assays. Viruses are identified using fluorescent antibody testing from positive shell vial cultures. The Virology section tests for respiratory viruses, cytomegalovirus (CMV), and enteroviruses.

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The Mycology section cultures fungi from several types of patient specimens on specialized media. We employ several technologists experienced in the identification of molds and yeasts. In addition, the Mycology section performs antifungal sensitivity testing for clinically important yeasts.

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The Parasitology section tests stool samples for common parasites by enzyme immunoassay. Other parasites are identified microscopically. Our technologists are very competent in performing microscopic exams on blood and stool samples for parasites as well as macroscopic exams of suspected worms.

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The Serology section performs automated immunoassays to detect specific antibodies in serum. The presence or absence of antibodies is used in the diagnosis of infectious diseases and also for immune status. We utilize chemilluminometric assays to test for antibodies to Hepatitis A, B, and C and HIV. Enzyme immunoassays are performed to aid in the diagnosis of Epstein-Barr Virus (infectious mononucleosis), Helicobacter pylori, herpes types 1and 2, celiac disease, and lyme disease. Enzyme immunoassays are also used to determine immune status to measles, mumps, rubella, and varicella zoster (chicken pox).

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Contact Microbiology at 207-973-6980