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a genus of bacteria, related to actinomycetes; it differs from true bacteria in a number of ways. The young vegetative cells are rodlike (0.5–0.8 × 2.2 microns); they are capable of branching and acquiring V or Y shapes. In old cultures spherical cells predominate. Mycobacteria, which do not form endospores, are nonmotile, gram-positive, and strictly aerobic. They reproduce mainly by dividing and budding. Mycobacteria contain carotenoids, and, as a result, their colonies are often pigmented (yellow, orange, or red). Owing to their cell composition (including lipides and wax), some myco-bacteria, in contrast to other bacteria, are acid-fast.

Mycobacteria are widely distributed in soils and are active in the mineralization of plant remains. Some species of Mycobacterium are nitrogen-fixing microorganisms; others are capable of metabolizing the carbohydrates of petroleum and natural gas and, when cultured, accumulate protein, which is used for fodder and other purposes. Some species of Mycobacterium are pathogenic to humans (for example, mycobacteria are the causative agents of tuberculosis and leprosy).


References in periodicals archive ?
Tuberculosis (TB) in HIV-co-infected (HIV-TB) patients is characterised by high rates of smear-negative pulmonary and extrapulmonary disease, with increasing levels of antimycobacterial drug resistance and high rates of co-morbid opportunistic infections (OIs).
Of these azoles, many 1,2,4-triazole derivatives possess antibacterial [2,3], antifungal [2,4], antimycobacterial [5,10], antiviral [6], anti-inflammatory [7], anticonvulsant [8], antidepressant [9], antitubercular [10], antitumoral [11], antihypertensive [12], analgesic [13], enzyme inhibitor [14], hypoglycemic[15], sedative, hypnotic [16], antiparasitic, herbicidal, insecticidal and plant growth activities [17].
A quick look at the way nature, especially plants, are tackling the issue of infection will provide a deeper understanding of the methodology, which needs to be adopted for the design and development of novel highly effective antiinfectious agents in general, and antimycobacterials in particular.