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Infect Immun. May 1974; 9(5): 843–850.
PMCID: PMC414896

Studies on the Effect of Starvation on Mycobacteria

Abstract

Ten cultures of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, one of Mycobacterium kansasii (nonsignificant), and one of Mycobacterium phlei were submitted to starvation. As a result they lost first their acid fastness and then all other staining affinities but, in this chromophobic state, they survived for at least 2 years and, after that time, produced cultures of acid-fast bacilli when transferred onto nutrient media. Chromophobic tubercle bacilli similar to those produced experimentally had previously been demonstrated in caseous lesions of lungs surgically removed from patients under chemotherapy. Since it has been shown that experimentally produced chromophobic bacilli can recover their original biological properties, the opinion is warranted that, under suitable conditions, those in the lung could also become reactivated and cause a relapse of the disease.

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Selected References

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  • NYKA W. STUDIES ON MYCOBACTERIUM TUBERCULOSIS IN LESIONS OF THE HUMAN LUNG. A NEW METHOD OF STAINING TUBERCLE BACILLI IN TISSUE SECTIONS. Am Rev Respir Dis. 1963 Nov;88:670–679. [PubMed]
  • Nyka W. Method for staining both acid-fast and chromophobic tubercle bacilli with carbolfuschsin. J Bacteriol. 1967 Apr;93(4):1458–1460. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
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  • Nyka W, O'Neill EF. A new approach to the study of non-acid-fast mycobacteria. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 1970 Oct 30;174(2):862–871. [PubMed]
  • Yegian D, Porter KR. Some Artifacts Encountered in Stained Preparations of Tubercle Bacilli: I. Non-Acid-fast Forms Arising From Mechanical Treatment. J Bacteriol. 1944 Jul;48(1):83–91. [PMC free article] [PubMed]

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