Acid fast staining of Mycobacterium

Certain bacteria (Mycobacterium spp.) and actinomycetes have waxy components of the cell wall, hence their cell wall has limited permeability. Majority of bacteria are stained with simple stains and gram stains but the members of genus Mycobacterium can only be stained by acid fast stains. This stain has a diagnostic value in the area of medical Microbiology. Once the stain enters inside the cell, it cannot be readily removed even by strong deodorizing agents like acid alcohol.

Dormant endoscopes are also acid fast.

Acid fast staining is a widely used S differential staining procedure in bacteriology. This staining technique divides bacteria into the two groups

  1. Acid fast
  2. Non acid fast

This process is widely used in diagnosis of tuberculosis and leprosy.

See also: Ziehl Neelsen staining


Dr. R. C. Dubey – practical microbiology

Gaurav Singh

Editor in Chief Medical Microbiology & RDT Labs - RDT Labs Magazine | BSc Medical Microbiology | MSc Microbiology

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