The objective of this study was to compare the performances of the standard aerobic bottle (StAe), FAN aerobic (FANAe) and enhanced FAN aerobic (E-FANAe) (the charcoal component of the FANAe was revised recently to improve the feasibility of Gram smear interpretation) blood culture bottles for BacT/Alert system for the detection of Brucella melitensis in simulated blood culture. Triplicate strains of eight clinical isolates of B. melitensis were studied. Each bottle was inoculated with 5 mL of freshly collected human blood at three different targeted bacterial inocula (10(1), 10(2) and 10(3) CFU/bottle). All bottles were monitored for up to 21 days or until they became positive. The results of time to detection (TTD) on the eight B. melitensis samples were as follows: at 10(1) CFU/bottle, the E-FANAe had a mean TTD significantly shorter than the StAe (48 h vs. 56.2 h, P < 0.05); and at 10(3) CFU/bottle, the FANAe and E-FANAe had a mean TTD significantly shorter than the StAe (41.2 h and 40 h vs. 45.6 h, P < 0.05). The reproducibilities (no.of positive signals/no.of all bottles) of three bottle systems were as follows: at 10(1) CFU/bottle, the reproducibilities of StAe, FANAe and E-FANAe were 96, 83 and 58%, respectively. At 10(3) CFU/bottle, the reproducibilities of StAe, FANAe and E-FANAe were 95, 95 and 91%, respectively. Positive results for the presence of bacteria in Gram smears were confirmed in 68% of StAe, 54% of FANAe and 90% of E-FANAe. In case of suspected brucellosis, the combination of one StAe bottle and one E-FANAe bottle seems to provide the highest and fastest recovery of the organism.