Susceptibility testing: accurate and reproducible minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) and non-inhibitory concentration (NIC) values


Correspondence to: R. Lambert, Unilever Research Colworth, Sharnbrook MK44 1LQ, UK (e-mail:


Measuring the minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) of a substance by current methods is straightforward, whereas obtaining useful comparative information from the tests can be more difficult. A simple technique and a method of data analysis are reported which give the experimentalist more useful information from susceptibility testing. This method makes use of a 100-well microtitre plate and the analysis uses all the growth information, obtained by turbidometry, from each and every well of the microtitre plate. A modified Gompertz function is used to fit the data, from which a more exact value can be obtained for the MIC. The technique also showed that at certain concentrations of inhibitor, there was no effect on growth relative to a control well (zero inhibitor). Above a threshold value, which has been termed the non-inhibitory concentration or NIC, growth becomes limiting until it reaches the MIC, where no growth relative to the control is observed.