Mycobacteria and Acid-Fast Property

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What property of mycobacteria makes them acid-fast?

Their high lipid content in the cell wall

What component of the cell wall is responsible for the acid-fast property of M. tuberculosis?

Mycolic acids

What is the significance of the carbol fuchsin stain in identifying mycobacteria?

It helps to retain the stain despite subsequent treatment

Study Notes

Mycobacteria Properties

  • Mycobacteria are acid-fast due to the high concentration of mycolic acids in their cell walls.
  • Mycolic acids are long-chain, alpha-alkyl, beta-hydroxy fatty acids that create a hydrophobic environment, making the cells resistant to acidic and alkaline conditions.
  • In M. tuberculosis, the cell wall component responsible for the acid-fast property is the unique mycolic acid-rich peptidoglycan layer.

Importance of Carbol Fuchsin Stain

  • The carbol fuchsin stain is a critical diagnostic tool for identifying mycobacteria, particularly M. tuberculosis.
  • This stain helps to differentiate mycobacteria from other bacteria due to their unique acid-fast properties.

Test your knowledge on the aerobic, acid-fast bacilli known as mycobacteria. Learn about their unique ability to retain the carbol fuchsin stain and the high lipid content of their cell wall that makes them acid-fast.

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