Could anybody tell me the origin of the word mycobacterium?

David A. Mullin damullin at MAILHOST.TCS.TULANE.EDU
Tue Mar 25 10:30:37 EST 1997

>Probably because of mycolic acids in the structure of the cell wall
>leading to their `acid fast' property on staining. Therefore myco and
>bacterium.  Y.A.

        Well.....I don't think so.  Species of Mycobacterium can form
filaments, like the famous cords that form in many clinical isolates of M.
tuberculosis.  These long filaments are reminiscent of fungal hyphi hence
the Myco of Mycobacteria.  Mycolic acids were discovered long after the
genus name was acquired...the mycolic acids were named after the genus
Mycobacterium, not vice versa.

        David Mullin

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