SUMMARY: A simple, rapid, chemical method to differentiate from is described. After saponification of bacteria in 2.5% (w/v) KOH in methanol + benzene (1:1, v/v) at 37° for one day, crude mycolic acids of mycobacteria were precipitated by addition of an equal volume of ethanol to an ethereal solution of extracted lipids. Mycobacteria gave large amounts of white precipitates (about 10 mg/g wet whole bacteria) of m.p. between 45° and 70°, whereas nocardias gave no precipitate or very small amounts of precipitates (less than 2 mg/g whole bacteria) which did not melt below 150° or melted near 80°.


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