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Diagn Microbiol Infect Dis. 1992 Mar-Apr;15(3):239-46.

Mycobacterium paratuberculosis. Factors that influence mycobactin dependence.

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Department of Pathobiological Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Wisconsin, Madison 53201.


Mycobacterium paratuberculosis does not produce any detectable mycobactin, an iron-binding compound that is synthesized by most Mycobacterium spp. and necessary for the growth of all mycobacteria. This study examined the influence of various culture conditions on mycobactin dependence in M. paratuberculosis. Using a radiometric growth assay, we found the minimal concentration of mycobactin J necessary for growth of M. paratuberculosis to be 0.006 microM, whereas 1.2 microM (1 microgram/ml) was required for optimal growth. In media without mycobactin at iron concentrations less than or equal to 100 microM, growth of M. paratuberculosis occurred at pH 5.0, but not pH 6.8. Iron concentrations greater than 100 microM did not significantly increase growth at pH 5.0, but at pH 6.8 the growth rate increased with increasing amounts of iron reaching a rate equal to control cultures containing mycobactin. Mycobacterium paratuberculosis appeared to lose mycobactin dependence when subcultured; however, this was subsequently shown to be a result of mycobactin carried over from primary medium. Removal of this contaminating cell-wall-associated mycobactin reestablished mycobactin dependence. We conclude that mycobactin dependence must be carefully determined because it is a key test used in identification of M. paratuberculosis and may be easily influenced by media pH, iron concentration, and mycobactin carryover from primary media.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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