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Tuberculosis is an increasing problem world-wide, especially in developing countries but also in some areas of Europe and the United States. Improvements in tuberculosis control programmes will require improved availability of rapid, accurate mycobacteriology services, including drug susceptibility testing. Selective broth culture systems, including a sensitive indicator of growth, improve the sensitivity and time to detection of growth. New technologies, including nucleic acid amplification tests and fluorescence-detection high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), need to be carefully evaluated for their cost-effectiveness and clinical utility before their role in the laboratory can be established.