In recent years, the role of donor blood has taken an important place in epidemiology of Leishmaniasis. According to the WHO, the numbers of patients considered as symptomatic are only 5-20% of individuals with asymptomatic leishmaniasis. In this study for detection of Leishmania infection in donor blood samples, 343 samples from the Capa Red Crescent Blood Center were obtained and primarily analyzed by microscopic and serological methods. Subsequently, the traditional culture (NNN), Immunochromatographic test (ICT) and Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) methods were applied to 21 samples which of them were found positive with at least one method. Buffy coat (BC) samples from 343 blood donors were analyzed: 15 (4.3%) were positive by a microculture method (MCM); and 4 (1.1%) by smear. The sera of these 343 samples included 9 (2.6%) determined positive by ELISA and 7 (2%) positive by IFAT. Thus, 21 of (6.1%) the 343 subjects studied by smear, MCM, IFAT and ELISA techniques were identified as positive for leishmaniasis at least one of the techniques and the sensitivity assessed. According to our data, the sensitivity of the methods are identified as MCM (71%), smear (19%), IFAT (33%), ELISA (42%), NNN (4%), PCR (14%) and IC T (4%). Thus, with this study for the first time, the sensitivity of a MCM was examined in blood donors by comparing MCM with the methods used in the diagnosis of leishmaniasis. As a result, MCM was found the most sensitive method for detection of Leishmania parasites in samples obtained from a blood bank. In addition, the presence of Leishmania parasites was detected in donor bloods in Istanbul, a non-endemic region of Turkey, and these results is a vital importance for the health of blood recipients. (C) 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.