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Tuberculosis is caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M.TB.), has a unique cell wall, making it difficult to kill and stain. Three matjor components compose the cell wall: mycolic acids, cord factor, and Wax-D. M.TB. is also hard to culture and can only thrive in the body. It is an obligate aerobe and an acid-fast bacteria. Tuberculosis can be diagnosed through the Mantoux test and by staining methods such as the Ziel-Neelsen method. Chest x-rays are also used in the diagnosis process to detect any damage done to the lungs.
Tuberculosis is caused by M.TB. This bacterium is hard to kill because of its cell wall, which is 60% lipid. M.TB. is also difficult to stain and culture (Todar, Kenneth paragraoh 14). Skin tests and microbiologic smears and cultures are the main methods used to diagnose TB, though the full diagnosis consists of many more tests.
M.TB. is a rod-shaped bacterium related to the Actinomycetes. The rods are 2 to 4 um long and 0.2 to 0.5 um wide. This bacterium is an obligate aerobe, an organism that needs oxygen to survive. It is a tough bacterium that can withstand weak disinfectants and can survive in a dry state for weeks. M. TB. is a slow-growing bacterium that divides every 16 to 20 hours, which is extremely slow compared to other bacterium, which have division times measured in minutes (Wikipedia paragraph 1). Although M.TB. contains peptidoglycan in their cell wall, it is neither Gram-positive nor Gram-negative because it lacks the chemical characteristics of either. The Mycobacterium species is classified as acid-fast bacteria because it is virtually impermeable to certain dyes and stains, but once stained, the dye is permanent. The Ziehl-Neelsen method is one method used to stain Mycobac...

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...ed as an acid-fast bacilli because of its impermeability to stains. The Mantoux skin test, Ziel-Neelsen method, BACTEC system, and the chest x-rays make up the most common methods used to diagnose tuberculosis. Although M.TB. is difficult study under a microscope, the understanding of the cell wall structure helps scientists to invent treatments for tuberculosis.

“Tuberculosis.” Todar, Kenneth. Todar’s Online Textbook of Bacteriology.
2006 University of Wisconsin-Madison, Department of Bacteriology.
2007 23 July 2006
“Tuberculosis.” Wikipedia. 27 July 2006 Wikipedia Foundation, Inc. 22 July 2006
“Tuberculosis.” University of Michigan Health System. 14 March 2005 University of Michigan Health System. 22 July 2006

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