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Appl Environ Microbiol. 2003 Sep;69(9):5685-9.

Factors influencing the chlorine susceptibility of Mycobacterium avium, Mycobacterium intracellulare, and Mycobacterium scrofulaceum.

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  • 1Department of Biology, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Virginia, USA.


The susceptibility of representative strains of Mycobacterium avium, Mycobacterium intracellulare, and Mycobacterium scrofulaceum (the MAIS group) to chlorine was studied to identify factors related to culture conditions and growth phase that influenced susceptibility. M. avium and M. intracellulare strains were more resistant to chlorine than were strains of M. scrofulaceum. Transparent and unpigmented colony variants were more resistant to chlorine than were their isogenic opaque and pigmented variants (respectively). Depending on growth stage and growth rate, MAIS strains differed in their chlorine susceptibilities. Cells from strains of all three species growing in early log phase at the highest growth rates were more susceptible than cells in log and stationary phase. Rapidly growing cells were more susceptible to chlorine than slowly growing cells. The chlorine susceptibility of M. avium cells grown at 30 degrees C was increased when cells were exposed to chlorine at 40 degrees C compared to susceptibility after exposure at 30 degrees C. Cells of M. avium grown in 6% oxygen were significantly more chlorine susceptible than cells grown in air. Chlorine-resistant MAIS strains were more hydrophobic and resistant to Tween 80, para-nitrobenzoate, hydroxylamine, and nitrite than were the chlorine-sensitive strains.

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