SUMMARY: The methyl esters of free mycolic acids from representative strains of and the complex were subjected to detailed mass spectral analysis. The anhydromycolic esters of the Nocardia strains consisted of homologous series containing from zero to three double bonds, with the main components of the parent mycolic acids centred on C to C (range C to C). The anhydromycolates from one rhodochrous strain, , had a molecular weight range similar to the nocardiae (C to C) but the remaining rhodochrous strains gave an homologous series of anhydromycolates containing from zero to two double bonds, with the main components of the parent mycolic acids centred on C, C, C or C (total range from C to C). The mycolic acids from the rhodochrous strains with chain lengths centred around C form a group intermediate in size between corynomycolic acids (centred around C) and nocardomycolic acids (centred around C). These data weaken the case for retaining the ‘rhodochrous’ complex in the genus , and also show that many rhodochrous strains can be distinguished from true nocardiae and corynebacteria. These results confirm the value of lipid characters in the classification of these organisms.


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