Chapter 28 : General Characteristics, Laboratory Detection, and Staining Procedures

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This chapter deals with the only genus in the family and related to other mycolic acid-containing genera. The genus includes obligate pathogens, opportunistic pathogens, and saprophytes. Ben Salah et al. found clinical M. avium complex (MAC) isolates that appear to represent three other new species: , , and . Many different types of clinical specimens may be collected for mycobacteriological analyses. A majority of clinical specimens originate from the respiratory tract (sputum, tracheal and bronchial aspirates, and bronchoalveolar lavage specimens), but urine, gastric aspirates, tissues, biopsy specimens, and normally sterile body fluids such as cerebrospinal fluid and pleural and pericardial aspirates are other commonly submitted specimens. A majority of disseminated mycobacterial infections are due to MAC. Appropriate pretreatment and processing procedures (homogenization, decontamination, concentration, culture media, and conditions of incubation) must be selected to facilitate optimum recovery of mycobacteria. With the advent of molecular techniques designed for molecular epidemiology, cross-contamination either linked to laboratory procedures or, more rarely, to contaminated bronchoscopes can easily be proven. Laboratory aspects of cross-contamination are addressed in the chapter. Quality control (QC) is vital for monitoring a laboratory’s effectiveness in detecting and isolating mycobacteria. Accurate identification of nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) will prevent rarely encountered pathogens from being mistaken for nonpathogenic species.

Citation: Pfyffer G, Palicova F. 2011. General Characteristics, Laboratory Detection, and Staining Procedures , p 472-502. In Versalovic J, Carroll K, Funke G, Jorgensen J, Landry M, Warnock D (ed), Manual of Clinical Microbiology, 10th Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816728.ch28
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Image of FIGURE 1

(top left) on Middlebrook 7H10 agar. Note the dry and rough colonies with sometimes a nodular or wrinkled surface.

Citation: Pfyffer G, Palicova F. 2011. General Characteristics, Laboratory Detection, and Staining Procedures , p 472-502. In Versalovic J, Carroll K, Funke G, Jorgensen J, Landry M, Warnock D (ed), Manual of Clinical Microbiology, 10th Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816728.ch28
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Image of FIGURE 2

(top right) BCG on Middlebrook 7H10 agar. Colonies may be flat as well as round with irregular edges.

Citation: Pfyffer G, Palicova F. 2011. General Characteristics, Laboratory Detection, and Staining Procedures , p 472-502. In Versalovic J, Carroll K, Funke G, Jorgensen J, Landry M, Warnock D (ed), Manual of Clinical Microbiology, 10th Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816728.ch28
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Image of FIGURE 3

(bottom left) Acid-fast staining (Ziehl-Neelsen) of . Note the characteristic curved (“croissant-like”) microscopic morphology.

Citation: Pfyffer G, Palicova F. 2011. General Characteristics, Laboratory Detection, and Staining Procedures , p 472-502. In Versalovic J, Carroll K, Funke G, Jorgensen J, Landry M, Warnock D (ed), Manual of Clinical Microbiology, 10th Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816728.ch28
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Image of FIGURE 4

(bottom right) on Middlebrook 7H10 agar. Note the heterogeneous colony morphology consisting of some flat and smooth but predominantly domed and glossy colonies (photograph kindly provided by D. van Soolingen).

Citation: Pfyffer G, Palicova F. 2011. General Characteristics, Laboratory Detection, and Staining Procedures , p 472-502. In Versalovic J, Carroll K, Funke G, Jorgensen J, Landry M, Warnock D (ed), Manual of Clinical Microbiology, 10th Edition. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816728.ch28
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