SUMMARY: Sixty lipophilic diphtheroids (LD) isolated from human skin were characterized by a variety of morphological, biochemical, physiological and nutritional tests. The LD strains were tentatively placed into six fermentative groups and one non-fermentative group. Most LD strains required amino nitrogen, others required vitamins plus amino acids for growth. Nine LD isolates initiated growth with ammonia as a sole nitrogen source. Urea and nitrate were not utilized. A total of 149 cutaneous bacteria were compared for esterase and lipase action. Esterase activity was common but few LD strains appear capable of obtaining their required lipids by their own lipase action. The grouping scheme derived from studies with the 60 LD strains was tested as a screening procedure to recognize and categorize other LD strains. A second series of 115 cultures from seven cutaneous sites were isolated. Six of the original seven groups were identified and one additional subgroup was formed. The screening method was partially effective as a means of studying the location and types of LD strains on skin. There were 31 strains which by determinative features could be grouped as -like species. Human skin appears to have an unrecognized diversity of lipophilic corynebacteria yet to be classified into species.


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