The blood culture records during the 6-year period 1984–9 were reviewed to compare the performance of the BACTEC aerobic (6B) and aerobic-hypertonic (8B) media for the recovery of Candida spp. and Torulopsis glabrata from blood. There were 137 positive blood culture sets that contained both a 6B and an 8B bottle. Sixty-eight different yeasts were recovered from 65 patients including 35 Candida albicans, 19 C. tropicalis, 6 C. parapsilosis, 4 C. krusei, 1 C. pseudotropicalis and 3 Torulopsis glabrata. The 8B medium detected 120 of the positive cultures (87·6%) and was the only positive medium in 35 (25·6%) sets, while the 6B medium detected 102 positive cultures (74·4%) and was the only positive medium in 17 (12·4%) sets (P < 0·04). For those sets in which both bottles were positive, radiometric detection occurred first in the 8B bottle in 39 sets and first in the 6B bottle in 11 sets (P < 0·001). The superior performance of the 8B bottle was not related to the administration of amphotericin B. Cultures of stock strains of C. albicans, C. tropicalis, and C. parapsilosis in 6B and 8B media with and without added blood confirmed the finding that 8B was substantially superior to 6B for the detection of candidaemia. It is concluded that an 8B bottle should be included in the blood culture set whenever candidaemia is suspected.