Culture of Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis: challenges, limitations and future prospects

Hannah Dane, Linda D Stewart, Irene R Grant*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
45 Downloads (Pure)


Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis (MAP) causes paratuberculosis (Johne’s disease) in ruminants and is suspected to be involved in the development of Crohn’s disease and several autoimmune disorders. As such, sensitive and specific MAP detection methods are required to confirm infection in animals and identify potential sources of animal and human exposure. Despite recent developments in immunological and nucleic acid-based detection methods, culture-based detection of MAP remains the ‘gold standard’ against which the sensitivity and specificity of other detection methods are measured. However, not all culture-based approaches are equivalent in terms of detection capability, which can lead to errors in the evaluation of other detection methods. This review will provide an overview of the chronological development of culture methods for MAP, and will consider the unique growth requirements of MAP, the merits of solid versus liquid culture media, the relative performance of the commonly used MAP culture media, and sample preparation/decontamination protocols for different sample types. The limitations of current MAP culture methods and prospects for improvements are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberlxac017
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Applied Microbiology
Issue number1
Early online date13 Dec 2022
Publication statusPublished - 02 Jan 2023


  • Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis (MAP)
  • culture
  • growth requirements
  • media constituents
  • slow growth
  • Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis (MAP)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology


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