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Appl Environ Microbiol. 1980 Aug;40(2):391-9.

Cholesterol as a limiting factor in the growth of Mycoplasma pneumoniae.


Ultracentrifugation was used to separate three commercial lots of bovine serum fraction (BSF) into components designed to contain lipoproteins. Each BSF lot and component was tested for ability to support the growth of tree strains of Mycoplasma pneumoniae. In general, the level of growth-promoting activity corresponded to the amount of cholesterol present in the BSF or BSF components rather than to the amount or type of lipoprotein Cholesterol was the limiting nutritional factor of BSF with low growth-promoting activity. The addition of cholesterol and bovine serum albumin to BSF with low activity resulted in growth equal to or greater than that observed for BSF with high growth-promoting activity. When cholesterol was added to agar medium containing BSF of low activity, mycoplasma colonies were greater in number, possessed larger mean diameters, and had centers that were more distinct than those observed when this BSF was used alone. Variability in growth-promoting actions of commercial lots of BSF was eliminated by increasing their cholesterol content to an optimum level. An adjustment of the cholesterol and albumin levels of any serum product used in culture media may provide a simple convenient method to improve growth and isolation of mycoplasmas.

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