In an era of healthcare reform and evidenced-based medicine, it is important to use the most clinically relevant and cost effective methods in all aspects of microbiology. This session will cover issues related to culture of challenging clinical and non-clinical specimens including objects, fluids and environmental samples. While there is some consensus about the more routine aspects of clinical testing, much less information is available about the topics covered in this symposium. The culturing of unusual objects are areas where laboratorians are often faced with the dilemma if, or to what extent, cultures should be worked up. The goal is to provide information to support medically relevant, regulatory-compliant, and fiscally prudent processes.