Structure and Physiology
This bacterium is a rod shaped, slow growing, aerobic bacterium. As this microbe is acid-fast, staining is done using the Ziehl-Neelson stain rather than gram staining.
Transmission and Disease
Mycobacterium bovis BCG is the causative agent of tuberculosis in cattle and a close relative (>99.95% identical at the nucleotide level) of M. tuberculosis, which causes tuberculosis in humans. Because of this close relationship, M. bovis BCG is used as a surrogate in antimicrobial tests for tuberculosis disinfectant claims.
Because of a thick cell wall, the bacterium can survive harsh environmental conditions and is difficult to kill.
The “BCG” in this organism’s name stands for Bacillus Calmette–Guérin vaccine strain, developed from 1908-1921 by french bacteriologists Albert Calmette and Camille Guérin. It was created by growing M. bovis.
- Garnier, Thierry, et al. “The complete genome sequence of Mycobacterium bovis.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 100.13 (2003): 7877-7882.