Product number: 7105

Letheen Broth Base is used with Tween 80 (Polysorbate 80) for the testing of quaternary ammonium compounds for antimicrobial activity in a laboratory setting. Letheen Broth Base is not intended for use in the diagnosis of disease or other conditions in humans.

In 1948, Weber and Black described the value of a highly nutritional solid medium containing neutralizing agents for quaternary ammonium compounds in sanitizers. The addition of Lecithin and Polysorbate 80 to Tryptone Glucose Extract (TGE) Agar resulted in a medium that effectively neutralizes quaternary ammonium compounds while testing germicidal activity. Letheen Agar is a modification of TGE Agar with the addition of Lecithin and Polysorbate 80.

Letheen Broth Base was developed as a subculture medium for the neutralization of quaternary ammonium compounds in disinfectant testing. Quisno, Gibby, and Foter discovered that adding Lecithin and Polysorbate 80 to F.D.A. Broth resulted in a medium that neutralized high concentrations of quaternary ammonium salts. The resulting medium, termed "Letheen" (a combination of Lecithin and Tween) was easy to prepare and clear in appearance, aiding to visual inspection for growth. Letheen Broth Base is recommended by the Official Methods of Analysis of the Association of Official Analytical Chemists (AOAC) for use with disinfectants containing cationic surface active materials.

Letheen Broth Base is specified for use by the American Society for Testing Materials (ASTM) in Standard Test Method for Preservatives in Water-Containing Cosmetics. Total neutralization of disinfectants is critical. Disinfectant residues can result in a false negative (no-growth) test.


Formula Liter
Enzymatic Digest of Animal Tissue 10 g
Beef Extract 5 g
Sodium Chloride 5 g
Lecithin 0.7 g

Final pH: 7.0 ± 0.2 at 25°C
Formula may be adjusted and/or supplemented as required to meet performance specifications.

Supplement / Liter

Tween 80 (Polysorbate 80), 5 mL


  1. Dissolve 20.7 g of the medium and 5 g of Tween 80 (Polysorbate 80) (# 7992) in one liter of purified water.
  2. Heat with frequent agitation to completely dissolve the medium.
  3. Autoclave at 121°C for 15 minutes.

Order Details

Product # Product Description
7105A Letheen Broth Base, 500 g
7105T Letheen Broth Base, 5 kg
7105C Letheen Broth Base, 10 kg
7992 Tween 80 (Polysorbate 80), 100 mL

Reference Material

7105 - Letheen Broth Base, Product Information Sheet [English] [Portuguese]
7105 - Letheen Broth Base, Safety Data Sheet [Danish] [Dutch] [English] [EU English] [Finnish] [French] [German] [Hungarian] [Italian] [Spanish, Mexico] [Swedish]

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