SUMMARY: Acid methanolysates of 104 strains of coryneform and related bacteria were examined for mycolic acids by thin-layer chromatography and mass spectrometry. The mycolic acids of strains were not uniform in size and structure, and considerable variation existed within the approximate limiting range of C to C. Two species, and were particularly distinctive; the former had exceptionally low molecular weight mycolic acids (C to C), whereas the latter contained major amounts of mycolates with a side-chain possessing an odd number of carbon atoms. contained mycolic acids of a similar size (C to C) to those of true corynebacteria. The mycolates of organisms assigned to the genus were generally larger (C to C), although a clear distinction between true corynebacteria and rhodococci cannot presently be made by analysis of mycolic acids alone. Strains labelled and contained mycolic esters with molecular weights ‘intermediate’ in size between those of true corynebacteria and rhodococci. The mycolic acid data correlate well with other major trends in coryneform taxonomy and support earlier suggestions that they are of value in the classification of the group.


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