Mycobacterium vaccae
Cultural characteristics
Biochemical characters
Phylum Actinobacteria, Class Actinobacteria, Order Actinomycetales, Suborder Corynebacterineae, Family Mycobacteriaceae, Genus
Mycobacterium vaccae Bonicke and Juhasz 1964.
Acid-fast rods 1-4 x 0.5-0.8 μm; may be curved with rounded or thickened ends;
occasionally Y-shaped. Acid-fastness is irregular in old cultures. Rough mutants form
spreading pellicles that contain microscopic cords.
Colonies from dilute inocula on Lowenstein-Jensen medium are smooth, moist,
yellow-orange, shiny, butyrous, domed. Grows in less than 5 days.  Most strains are
very light sensitive; they are non-pigmented if grown in complete darkness, but
become yellow after brief (minutes) exposure to light. Occasionally, rough or
non-pigmented colonies are observed. The temperature range for growth is nominally
17-42 ºC, but growth is restricted and pigmentation is inhibited at 17 and 42 ºC; does
not grow at 45 ºC. No growth on MacConkey agar (without crystal violet). Variable
growth on media supplemented with 5% (w/v) NaCl (but not in 7% (w/v) NaCl).
Isolated from the lacteal glands and skin lesions of cattle and also from soil, watering ponds, and wells.
Susceptible to hydroxylamine (500 μg/ml), rifampin (20 μg/ml), and streptomycin (8 μg/ml). Resistant to ethambutol, isoniazid (2
μg/ml) and penicillin (66 IU/ml).
  1. John G. Magee and Alan C. Ward 2012. Family III. Mycobacteriaceae Chester 1897, 63AL in Bergey’s Manual of Systematic
    Bacteriology, Volume Five The Actinobacteria, Part A, Michael Goodfellow & al. (editors), 312-375.
  2. Julian E, Roldan M, Sanchez-Chardi A, Astola O, Agusti G, Luquin M. Microscopic cords, a virulence-related characteristic of
    Mycobacterium tuberculosis, are also present in nonpathogenic mycobacteria. J Bacteriol. 2010;192(7):1751–1760. doi:10.1128
  3. Schroder KH, Naumann L, Kroppenstedt RM, Reischl U. Mycobacterium hassiacum sp. nov., a new rapidly growing thermophilic
    mycobacterium. Int J Syst Bacteriol 1997; 47:86-91.
  4. Kubica GP, Baess I, Gordon RE, Jenkins PA, Kwapinski JB, McDurmont C, Pattyn SR, Saito H, Silcox V, Stanford JL, et al. A co-
    operative numerical analysis of rapidly growing mycobacteria. J Gen Microbiol 1972; 73:55-70.
  5. Ridell, M., and M. Goodfellow. 1983. Numerical classification of Mycobacterium farcinogenes, Mycobacterium senegalense and
    related taxa. J. Gen. Microbiol. 129:599-611.
  6. H. Saito, R. E. Gordon, I. Juhlin, W. Käppler, J. B. G. Kwapinski, C. McDurmont, S. R. Pattyn, E. H. Runyon, J. L. Stanford, I. Tarnok,
    H. Tasaka, M. Tsukamura And J. Weiszfeiler 1977. Cooperative Numerical Analysis of Rapidly Growing Mycobacteria. The Second
    Report. International Journal of Systematic Bacteriology, Apr.1977, p. 75-85.
  7. Tsukamura M, Mizuno S, Tsukamura S. Numerical analysis of rapidly growing, scotochromogenic mycobacteria, including
    Mycobacterium obuense sp. nov., nom. rev., Mycobacterium rhodesiae sp. nov., nom. rev., Mycobacterium aichiense sp. nov.,
    nom. rev., Mycobacterium chubuense sp. nov., nom. rev., and Mycobacterium tokaiense sp. nov., nom. rev. Int. J. Syst. Bacteriol.
    1981; 31:263-275.
Positive results for arylsulfatase (7 days), semiquantitative catalase test, thermostable catalase (68 ºC), nitrate reduction, tellurite
reduction, iron uptake, benzamidase, nicotinamidase, pyrazinamidase, succinamidase, urease, acid production from arabinose,
inositol, mannitol, fructose, glucose, rhamnose, sorbitol, sucrose, and xylose.
Can utilize as sole carbon source: benzoate (contradictory results), citrate (most strains), malonate (most strains), succinate,
fumarate, propanol, and mannitol.

Negative results for acid phosphatase, alpha-esterase, niacin accumulation, and Tween 80 hydrolysis.
No utilization as sole carbon source of sorbitol and malate.

Variable results for arylsulfatase (3 days), beta-esterase, beta-galactosidase, utilization of trehalose and xylose.
(c) Costin Stoica
Culture media
Biochemical tests
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