Our Reference Laboratories

SA Pathology is recognised for delivering exceptional clinical capability and knowledge in the detection and management of disease. Through our network of Reference Laboratories, we contribute to improving health and wellbeing outcomes on a global scale.

SA Pathology’s Reference Laboratories are accredited by the National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA) and comply with AS/NZ standards to PC2 and PC3 biosafety level.


Mycobacterium Reference Laboratory 

A World Health Organization recognised Supranational TB Reference Laboratory

The Mycobacterium Reference Laboratory (MRL) is the South Australian diagnostic and reference laboratory for tuberculosis (TB) and non-tuberculosis mycobacteria (NTM). The MRL is the only public laboratory for diagnostic mycobacterial testing in South Australia and receives isolates from private pathology providers for identification and drug susceptibility testing.

As a Supranational Reference Laboratory, the laboratory provides education and technical support to the National Reference Laboratories (NRLs) in Kiribati, Solomon Islands, Vietnam and Indonesia. It also provides collaboration with the WHO Western Pacific Regional Office. The MRL is part of the Microbiology and Infectious Diseases Directorate located at the Frome Road Laboratory and is supervised by a Clinical Microbiologist and a Lead Scientist.

Services provided

  • Acid fast microscopy (Ziehl -Neelsen stain and fluoerscent microscopy)
  • Mycobacterium cultures
  • GeneXpert Mycobacterium tuberculosis nucleic acid test (NAT)Mycobacterial identification by MALDI-ToF and molecular methods
  • Drug Susceptibility for TB and selected NTMs
  • External quality assurance activities
  • Technical support for NRLs
  • Whole Genome Sequencing for M.tuberculosis cluster investigations and antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and NTM species identification 

Contact: (08) 8222 3000 lisa.shephard@sa.gov.au


Australian Salmonella Reference Centre

The Australian Salmonella Reference Centre (ASRC) provides high quality serotyping, biotyping and molecular subtyping services primarily for the identification of Salmonella in human, animal, food, and environmental isolates for public health purposes. This includes routine surveillance, state and multi-jurisdictional outbreak investigations, detection of national notifiable animal and human enteric and food borne diseases, as well as servicing commercial industry and business. The ASRC is a member of the Australian/New Zealand Enteric Reference Network (ANZERN) and is responsible for the ANZERN National Proficiency Testing program in Salmonella serotyping.

With a national and international reputation for its reference function, including identification of unusual and new Salmonella serovars, the laboratory also develops international training programs in Salmonella serotyping. This has included training technical, scientific and medical staff from Singapore, Hong Kong, Indonesia and Myanmar. Typing is also performed on other enteric bacterial pathogens of public health concern, including Shigella spp, Escherichia coli, Listeria monocytogenes, Yersinia enterocolitica and Vibrio cholerae.

The ASRC is a Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Class 5.2 Microbiological Facility Approved Arrangement. The ASRC is also an approved laboratory analyst under the Food Act 2001.

Additional functions

  • Antimicrobial susceptibility testing of Salmonella isolates for public health
  • Advisory role on Salmonella serovar results, as well as typing methods
  • Maintenance of SA Pathology Culture Collection

Services provided

  • Serotyping
  • Biotyping
  • Salmonella Typhimurium MLVA Typing
  • Confirmatory Salmonella testing

The Australian Salmonella Reference Centre is part of the Microbiology and Infectious Diseases Directorate of SA Pathology, located at the Frome Rd Laboratory. The ASRC is supervised by Head of Unit, Molecular Epidemiology and Public Health.

 Contact: (08) 8222 3000 helen.hocking@sa.gov.au


National Mycology Reference Centre

The National Mycology Reference Centre (NMRC) provides mycology testing to public pathology laboratories throughout South Australia as well a referral service for public and private laboratories across Australia. It is actively involved in the teaching of medical mycology to undergraduate medical students, advanced trainees undergoing specialist training in microbiology, infectious diseases and dermatology, and medical technologists and scientists.

The NMRC also hosts a regular national course in medical mycology, the Mycology Masterclass. It maintains a website (Mycology Online) and app (Medical Fungi), as well as the Description of Medical Fungi book, that serve as important clinical and teaching resources in medical mycology, globally.

The National Mycology Reference Centre is part of the Microbiology and Infectious Diseases Directorate of SA Pathology, located at the Frome Road laboratory, and is supervised by a Clinical Microbiologist and a Lead Scientist.

Additional functions

  • Provision of expert advice on fungal diagnostics and antifungal susceptibility testing
  • Co-ordination of the medical mycology component of the Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia Quality Assurance Programme
  • Maintenance of a reference collection of medically important fungi for teaching and research purposes
  • Active involvement in clinical and laboratory mycology research (a list of recent publications may be found here)

Services provided

Routine testing (clinician requested testing to be submitted via SA Pathology)

  • Fungal microscopy, culture and susceptibility testing from human specimens
  • Dermatophyte PCR (human skin scraping, nail and hair specimens)R

Referred testing (laboratory referred testing)

  • Definitive identification of yeast and mould cultures
  • Antifungal susceptibility testing of yeasts and moulds
  • Referral form with current pricing 

Contact: (08) 8222 3000 sarah.kidd@sa.gov.au


Leukaemia Unit

A Legacy of Leadership

SA Pathology’s Leukaemia Unit has a rich history of playing a pivotal role in the global development of standardised molecular tests. As a national and international reference laboratory, our commitment to advancing diagnostic technologies has significantly contributed to shaping industry standards. While our lab's role in this global initiative has evolved, we take pride in the lasting impact we've had on the field of molecular diagnostics.

Shaping the Future through Education

Though our active participation in standardisation processes has transitioned, our dedication to education remains steadfast. We continue to share our expertise nationally and internationally, offering training programs that empower healthcare professionals with the latest knowledge and skills in molecular testing. Through seminars and collaborative initiatives, we aim to foster a global community of practitioners committed to excellence in diagnostics.

Unravelling the Complexity of Rare Gene Fusion Transcripts

The Leukaemia Unit serves as a national referral laboratory for the characterisation of rare gene fusion transcripts in patients with chronic myeloid leukaemia who have atypical molecular profiles. Our specialised expertise allows us to navigate the intricacies of these rare genetic anomalies, providing crucial insights for tailored patient care. This commitment reflects our unwavering dedication to staying at the forefront of molecular diagnostics to address the unique needs of our patients.

A Beacon of Excellence in Drug Resistance Mutation Testing

In Australia, the Leukaemia Unit stands out as one of the few laboratories performing drug resistance mutation testing. This essential service plays a crucial role in guiding treatment decisions for patients, ensuring that healthcare providers have the information needed to navigate the complexities of drug resistance. Our laboratory is dedicated to maintaining the highest standards in this critical aspect of molecular testing.

Your Partner in Precision Medicine

The Leukaemia Unit continues to be a trusted partner in precision medicine, combining a legacy of leadership with a commitment to ongoing innovation. As we look towards the future, our focus remains on delivering unparalleled diagnostic services, contributing to medical education, and supporting patients with the most advanced molecular testing capabilities available.

The Leukaemia Unit is part of the Genetics and Molecular Pathology Directorate of SA Pathology, located at the Frome Rd Laboratory. 

Contact: 08 8222 3000 Susan.Branford@sa.gov.au