Summary. The production of neuraminidase (EC by 77 strains of Bacteroidaceae was investigated by techniques previously used to study neuraminidase production by Clostridia. Conditions for culture and assay of neuraminidase were characterised. The enzyme is predominantly cell associated; it is not calcium dependent and the pH optimum for its production is c. 4.5.

Most neuraminidase-positive strains produced the enzyme well in the test media but a few strains failed to produce it consistently in one or other of the media. Because of these occasional variations, strains were grown and tested in at least two media before being defined as neuraminidase negative.

Within the group of species, and were neuraminidase positive while and were negative. Two subspecies of (ss. and ss. ) were positive but the other (ss. ) was negative. Strains of and produced the enzyme while and did not. The microaerophilic were also positive. None of the or species tested produced neuraminidase.

Our results for neuraminidase production are consistent for all strains of each species examined and we suggest that tests for neuraminidase production would be a valuable addition to biochemical tests currently used in taxonomic studies of the Bacteroidaceae.


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