Characterization of Mycobacterium bohemicum Isolated from Human, Veterinary, and Environmental Sources

Pirjo Torkko, Sini Suomalainen, Eila Iivanainen, Merja Suutari, Lars Göran Paulin, Eeva Rudbäck, Enrico Tortoli, Véronique Vincent, Rauni Mattila, Marja-Leena Katila

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Chemotaxonomic and genetic properties were determined for 14 mycobacterial isolates identified as members of a newly described species Mycobacterium bohemicum. The isolates recovered from clinical, veterinary, and environmental sources were compared for lipid composition, biochemical test results, and sequencing of the 16S ribosomal DNA (rDNA) and the 16S-23S rDNA internal transcribed spacer (ITS) regions. The isolates had a lipid composition that was different from those of other known species. Though the isolates formed a distinct entity, some variations were detected in the features analyzed. Combined results of the phenotypic and genotypic analyses were used to group the isolates into three clusters. The major cluster (cluster A), very homogenous in all respects, comprised the M. bohemicum type strain, nine clinical and veterinary isolates, and two of the five environmental isolates. Three other environmental isolates displayed an insertion of 14 nucleotides in the ITS region; they also differed from cluster A in fatty alcohol composition and produced a positive result in the Tween 80 hydrolysis test. Among these three, two isolates were identical (cluster B), but one isolate (cluster C) had a unique high-performance liquid chromatography profile, and its gas liquid chromatography profile lacked 2-octadecanol, which was present in all other isolates analyzed. Thus, sequence variation in the 16S-23S ITS region was associated with interesting variations in lipid composition. Two of the isolates analyzed were regarded as potential inducers of human or veterinary infections. Each of the environmental isolates, all of which were unrelated to the cases presented, was cultured from the water of a different stream. Hence, natural waters are potential reservoirs of M. bohemicum.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Clinical Microbiology
Pages (from-to)207-211
Number of pages5
Publication statusPublished - 2001
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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