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Helicobacter. 2012 Feb;17(1):62-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1523-5378.2011.00913.x.

Mucoid Helicobacter pylori isolates with fast growth under microaerobic and aerobic conditions.

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Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Sciences, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran.



Helicobacter pylori is microaerobic and turns into coccoid under aerobic conditions. In this study, two mucoid strains, A and D, were isolated from gastric biopsies which grew well on blood agar after 24-hour incubation under aerobic as well as microaerobic conditions. The aim of this study was to identify these strains and compare their growth under aerobic and microaerobic conditions with that of control H. pylori.


The two isolates A and D were identified as H. pylori according to microscopic morphology, urease, catalase and oxidase tests. Their growth under humidified aerobic and microaerobic conditions was compared with that of control H. pylori which grew only under microaerobic conditions. They were further identified by amplification of 16S rRNA, vacA alleles, cagA and ureAB genes by PCR. Their susceptibility to current antimicrobials was also examined.


The strains A and D produced mucoid colonies under aerobic and microaerobic conditions after 24-hour, exhibiting the typical spiral morphology of H. pylori. The results of urease, catalase and oxidase tests were positive. Sequencing of amplified products showed 99-100% homology with those of the reference H. pylori strains in GenBank. Both strains exhibited resistance to the high concentrations of antimicrobials.


This study reports the isolation of two mucoid strains of H. pylori with confluent growth under aerobic and microaerobic conditions. It appears that production of exopolysaccharide (EXP) could serve as a physical barrier to reduce oxygen diffusion into the bacterial cell and uptake of antibiotics. EXP protected the mucoid H. pylori isolates against stressful conditions, the result of which could be persistence of bacterial infection in the stomach.

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