SUMMARY: Fatty acid synthetase activity in extracts of was equivalent to 1.7 pmol malonyl-CoA incorporated into fatty acid min (mg protein). This activity - if representative of living organisms - is insufficient to enable them to synthesize their lipid requirements rapidly enough to support growth. The major activity for scavenging fatty acids in extracts of and , as well as in extracts of , was acetyl-CoA-dependent fatty acyl-CoA ‘elongase’. This activity was about four times higher in and grown in a medium which contained lipids, or when grown in mice, than in medium without added lipids. In contrast, the fatty acid synthetase activity was repressed in and when grown in medium that contained lipids, or when grown in mice. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that mycobacteria grown preferentially scavenge lipids from the host cells, and suggest that a source of lipid should be included in media for attempted axenic isolation of


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