The decapsulation test
Some encapsulated strains of Streptococcus equi ssp. zooepidemicus can be used for identification of hyaluronidase-producing Staphylococcus aureus. Cultivation on sheep blood agar, 24 hours, 37°C.
Some bacteria, such as Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus pyogenes, and Clostridium perfringens produce hyaluronidase as a means of using hyaluronan as a carbon source. It is often speculated that Streptococcus and Staphylococcus pathogens use hyaluronidase as a virulence factor to destroy the polysaccharide that holds animal cells together, making it easier for the pathogen to spread through the tissues of the host organism, but no valid experimental data are available to support this hypothesis.