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UK Anaerobe Reference Unit (UKARU)

About UKARU and contacts

The  UKARU is the identification and antimicrobial resistance reference service for anaerobic bacteria for the UK, offering gold standard antimicrobial susceptibility testing (AST) and detection of resistance mechanisms.

UKARU is the central laboratory for Wales for culture and typing of Clostridioides difficile and provides clinical guidance UK wide for all anaerobic infections.

The research aspect of the UKARU includes commercial assessments of AST products and C. difficile detection methods. The unit also provides reference level support for collaborations with the European Committed for Antimicrobial susceptibility testing (EUCAST) and the Clinical Laboratory Standards Institute (CLSI).

UK Anaerobe Reference Unit
Public Health Wales Microbiology Cardiff
University Hospital of Wales
Heath Park
CF14 4XW

Public Health Wales Microbiology Cardiff
DX 6070100
Cardiff 90 CF

Please also provide a full postal address along with the DX address as UKARU reports sent in the form of letters are not handled by Hays DX.
Tel:  029 20 742 171 (lab)     
Tel: 029 20 742 378 (office)     
Fax:  029 20 746 403
The UKARU reference services are available from Monday – Friday, 08:30 - 17:00
Clinical Lead: Dr Harriet Hughes
Lead Scientist: Trefor Morris 
Deputy Lead Clinical Scientist: Michael Perry
Senior Biomedical Scientist: Sarah Copsey-Mawer

UKARU: Core Services

The core services provided by the UK Anaerobe Reference Unit are: 

Referral Forms

Turnaround times

Pure anaerobes for confirmation of identity = 14 working days.

For slow-growing isolates, mixed cultures or where additional tests are requested (e.g. MICs) TATs may be extended.

Pure Clostridium difficile isolates for PCR-ribotyping = 12 working days

TATs for mixed cultures, faecal isolation, additional tests, tertiary referrals* and non-outbreak work (e.g. commercial studies, planned surveillance) may be extended considerably.

*Tertiary referrals from other ribotyping centres e.g CDRN or international labs, generally include a high percentage of uncommon or novel ribotypes which may require a significant amount of additional testing to ensure robustness of results. 

Frequently Asked Questions


IAQAS Anaerobe EQA

Although diagnostic laboratories can participate in existing external quality assurance schemes to cover most tests, there is still no such scheme for anaerobe characterisation at the reference laboratory level. With the advent of more stringent standards such as ISO 15189, this scheme will close the gap that still exists in terms of assuring the quality and robustness of the reference level characterisation of anaerobic bacteria.

This scheme will cover the quality of anaerobic identification, susceptibility testing and molecular characterisation and will be aimed initially at colleagues from similar specialist/reference anaerobe laboratories.  Expansion to other laboratories will be considered once the scheme is firmly established.

Please sign up via this page – the distribution of the first round of strains is estimated for January 2018, but you will be alerted by email of their imminent distribution. The long-term concept of the scheme is that isolates will be shared between these centres on an annual basis.

A multifactorial scoring system will be used taking into account: 

  1. The accuracy of identification (including up to date taxonomy)
  2. The accuracy of susceptibility testing (including methodology)
  3. Further molecular characterisation where applicable (resistance markers)

All results will be submitted via the ARU website and discussed via teleconference/videoconference meetings &/or at ECCMID as part of the ESGAI sub-group.

Other Links

Microbiology Society (including Anaerobe 2021)

Society for Anaerobic Microbiology (SAM): The Society was founded in 1975 as the Anaerobic Discussion Group and became the SAM in 1989. Membership of the Society is open to anyone interested in anaerobic microbiology, and members include workers from a wide range of scientific backgrounds from all parts of the world. New members always welcome. Free membership. UK-based.

Anaerobe Society of the Americas (ASA): The Anaerobe Society of the Americas is an international organization, promoting the study and application of knowledge of anaerobic bact erialogy. The primary activity of the society is organizing the biennial Anaerobe Congress for researchers, clinicians, and lab technicians from around the world to engage in presentations, exchanges, and dialogues related to anaerobes. Membership fee-includes subscription to the journal Anaerobe (6 issues per year). US-based.

ESCMID Study Group for Anaerobic Infections - ESGAI: