Summary: Gas-liquid chromatography (g.l.c.) was investigated as a potential tool in the classification and identification of strains isolated from human skin, on the basis of the g.l.c. profile of the trimethylsilyl derivatives of their mycolic acid methyl esters. The g.l.c. patterns of five skin corynebacteria were compared with those of reference strains PW8 and NCTC 9755 and NCTC 7929. Further compositional information was obtained by gas-liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry (g.l.c./m.s.) of mycolates from PW8 and two of the skin isolates. In addition to identifying and examining the individual mycolate species and comparing the differences in mycolate profile between skin corynebacteria and between reference strains, a limited assessment was made of the possibility of distinguishing between organisms at both strain and species levels on the basis of mycolic acid composition as revealed by g.l.c. “fingerprinting”.


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