The composition of the cell wall of bacterium NCTC 9742, variously known as and considered by some to be a species of , has been studied. Walls isolated from cells grown in nutrient broth consisted predominantly of peptidoglycan and a phosphorylated polymer containing -mannitol, glycerol, pyruvic acid, -glucose and -galactosamine. This phosphorus-rich polymer, which was slowly released on treatment of the walls with cold aqueous trichloroacetic acid, is considered to be a new type of teichoic acid. Quantitative analysis and the results of preliminary degradative studies indicated that the main backbone was a poly(mannitol phosphate) chain to which β-glucopyranosyl substituents and pyruvic acid residues (acetal-linked) were attached. It is suggested that the minor components, glycerophosphate and galactosamine, could form a linkage unit for the covalent attachment of the poly(mannitol phosphate) chain to peptidoglycan. In the walls of cells grown on nutrient agar, it appeared that the phosphorus-rich polymer was partly replaced by another polymer containing galactose and an unidentified component which reacted like a 2-keto-3-deoxyaldonic acid in the periodate/thiobarbituric acid test. The taxonomic implications of the cell-wall composition are discussed.


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