Free and esterified cholesterol were determined in the lipid extract of nine parasitic and saprophytic Mycoplasma strains. The saprophytic strains were usally free from esterified cholesterol. Esterified cholesterol was found in the parasitic strains at a ratio of 1:8 to 1:3 to free cholesterol; in the growth medium the ratio was about 4:1 [4-C]-cholesterol added to the growth medium was incorporated by all Mycoplasma stains without esterification or any other chemical change. [4-C]-cholesteryl oleate was incorporated into the lipid of the parasitic strains and was not hydrolysed to yield free cholesterol. The small amounts of radioactive oleic acid incorporated by serveral Mycoplasma strains during grwoth was not detected in the cholesteryl ester fraction. Our results show that under the grwoth conditions examined, the Mycoplasma organisms tested were unable to esterify cholesterol or hydrolyse cholesteryl esters.


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