• We assessed the usefulness of gas-liquid chromatography in detecting fecal anaerobes in patients with suspected intra-abdominal infection related to the lower gastrointestinal tract. Twenty-five (89%) of 28 cultures with and five (26%) of 19 cultures without anaerobic isolates were positive for succinate. Data anlysis showed that Bacteroides but not Enterobacteriaceae organisms were responsible for succinate production. Volatile acids other than acetate (VAs) were present in 16 (57%) of 28 culture-positive and one (7%) of 14 culture-negative specimens. Sixteen (94%) of 17 VA-positive and seven (28%) of 25 VA-negative specimens had anaerobic isolates shown by culture. The presence of certain VAs was associated with the recovery of specific groups of anaerobic bacteria. The presence of succinate or VA in intra-abdominal fluid provides a specific, useful method for the rapid detection of fecal anaerobes in patients with intra-abdominal infections.
(Arch Surg 1984;119:28-32)