Mycobacterium kansasii

Mycobacterium kansasii

Mycobacterium kansasii is a bacterium in the Mycobacterium family. The genus includes species known to cause serious diseases in mammals, including tuberculosis and leprosy, but this species is generally not dangerous to healthy people.


Gram-positive, nonmotile, moderately long to long and acid-fast rods.

Colony characteristics

  • Smooth to rough colonies after 7 or more days of incubation.
  • Colonies grown in dark are nonpigmented, when grown in light or when young colonies are exposed briefly to light, colonies become brilliant yellow (photochromogenic).
  • If grown in a lighted incubator, most strains form dark red crystals of β-carotene on the surface and inside of colony.


Differential characteristics

  • Closely related to the non-pathogenic, also slowly growing, nonpigmented, M. gastri.
  • Both species share an identical 16S rDNA but differentiation is possible by differences in the ITS and hsp65 sequences
  • A commercial hybridisation assay (AccuProbe) to identify M. kansasii exists.


Type Strain

  • First and most frequently isolated from human pulmonary secretions and lesions.

Strain ATCC 12478 = CIP 104589 = DSM 44162 = JCM 6379 = NCTC 13024.


  • Hauduroy,P. 1955. Derniers aspects du monde des mycobactéries. Masson et Cie, Paris, 1955.

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