Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis causes paratuberculosis (Johne's disease) in ruminants in most countries. Historical data suggest substantial differences in culturability of M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis isolates from small ruminants and cattle; however, a systematic comparison of culture media and isolates from different countries and hosts has not been undertaken. Here, 35 field isolates from the United States, Spain, Northern Ireland, and Australia were propagated in Bactec 12B medium and Middlebrook 7H10 agar, genomically characterized, and subcultured to Lowenstein-Jensen (LJ), Herrold's egg yolk (HEY), modified Middlebrook 7H10, Middlebrook 7H11, and Watson-Reid (WR) agars, all with and without mycobactin J and some with sodium pyruvate. Fourteen genotypes of M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis were represented as determined by BstEII IS900 and IS1311 restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis. There was no correlation between genotype and overall culturability, although most S strains tended to grow poorly on HEY agar. Pyruvate was inhibitory to some isolates. All strains grew on modified Middlebrook 7H10 agar but more slowly and less prolifically on LJ agar. Mycobactin J was required for growth on all media except 7H11 agar, but growth was improved by the addition of mycobactin J to 7H11 agar. WR agar supported the growth of few isolates. The differences in growth of M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis that have historically been reported in diverse settings have been strongly influenced by the type of culture medium used. When an optimal culture medium, such as modified Middlebrook 7H10 agar, is used, very little difference between the growth phenotypes of diverse strains of M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis was observed. This optimal medium is recommended to remove bias in the isolation and cultivation of M. avium subsp. paratuberculosis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Microbiology (medical)