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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Mycobacteriology Laboratory Branch

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High performance liquid chromatography (HPLC)

HPLC analysis of species-specific mycolic acids is used to identify species of mycobacteria. Most of the commonly reported species, including M. tuberculosis, are rapidly identified with HPLC. However, the MLB is rarely asked to identify common species. Most of the isolates received by the laboratory represent difficult-to-identify nontuberculous mycobacteria believed to be involved in disease.

HPLC can detect and group uncharacterized nontuberculous mycobacteria. Uncharacterized mycobacteria may be initially reported as no-common-pattern (NCP), with an assigned number, because they produced an HPLC pattern that did not match any known species. When an NCP group contains a sufficient number of these isolates, taxonomic studies are initiated to characterize the mycobacteria.

Last Reviewed: 05/18/2008
Content Source: Division of Tuberculosis Elimination
National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention


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