Archives of Microbiology

, Volume 139, Issue 2–3, pp 225–231 | Cite as

Mycolic acid patterns of some species of Mycobacterium

  • David E. Minnikin
  • S. Megan Minnikin
  • James H. Parlett
  • Michael Goodfellow
  • Mogens Magnusson
Original Papers


Representative strains of some species of Mycobacterium were degraded by both acid and alkaline methanolysis. Two-dimensional thin-layer chromatography was used to determine the patterns of mycolic acids and other long-chain components in these methanolysates. Patterns composed of α-, methoxy- and ketomycolates were found in Mycobacterium asiaticum, Mycobacterium bovix, Mycobacterium gastri, Mycobacterium gordonae, Mycobacterium kansasii, Mycobacterium marinum and Mycobacterium tuberculosis; a representative of Mycobacterium thermoresistibile also contained lower molecular weight α′-mycolates in addition to these three acids. In representatives or Mycobacterium avium, Mycobacterium intracellulare, Mycobacterium nonchromogenicum, “Mycobacterium novum”, Mycobacterium paratuberculosis, Mycobacterium scrofulaceum, Mycobacterium terrae, Mycobacterium xenopi, and Mycobacterium sp. MNC 165 α- and ketomycolates were accompanied by ω-carboxymycolates and 2-eicosanol and homologous alcohols which are derived from wax-ester mycolates. Mycobacterium fortuitum and “Mycobacterium giae” contained α′- and epoxymycolates and both serovars of Mycobacterium simiae had a very characteristic pattern of α-, α′- and ketomycolic acids. Comparison with data for other mycobacteria showed the chemotaxonomic significance of these mycolic acid patterns.

Key words

Mycolic acids Mycobacteria Thin-layer chromatographic analysis Acid methanolysates Alka-line methanolysates Chemotaxonomy 



thin-layer chromatography




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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • David E. Minnikin
    • 1
  • S. Megan Minnikin
    • 1
  • James H. Parlett
    • 1
    • 2
  • Michael Goodfellow
    • 1
    • 2
  • Mogens Magnusson
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Organic ChemistryThe UniversityNewcastle upon TyneUK
  2. 2.Department of MicrobiologyThe UniversityNewcastle upon TyneUK
  3. 3.Tuberculin DepartmentStatens SeruminstitutCopenhagenDenmark

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