Desiccation-Tolerance of Mycobacterium avium, Mycobacterium intracellulare, Mycobacterium chimaera, Mycobacterium abscessus and Mycobacterium chelonae
Falkinham, J.O.; Williams, M.D.
Desiccation-tolerance of cells of four strains of Mycobacterium chimaera and individual strains of Mycobacterium avium, Mycobacterium intracellulare, Mycobacterium abscessus, and Mycobacterium chelonae were measured by two methods. The survival of water-acclimated cells both in filter paper and on the surface of stainless-steel coupons were measured. In filter paper at 40% relative humidity at 25 °C, survival of patient isolates of M. avium and M. chimaera cells was 28% and 34% after 21 days of incubation, whereas it was 100% for the Sorin 3T isolate of M. chimaera. On stainless-steel biofilms after 42 days of incubation at 40% relative humidity at 25 °C, survival of water-acclimated cells of M. intracellulare was above 100%, while M. chelonae cells did not survive beyond 21 days, and survival of water-acclimated cells of M. avium and M. abscessus was 18% and 14%, respectively. On stainless-steel coupons, survival of patient and Sorin 3T isolates of M. chimaera was quite similar, specifically between 14% and 28% survival, after 42 days of incubation at 40% relative humidity at 25 °C. The experiments would support the hypothesis that some nontuberculous mycobacterial species are relatively desiccation-tolerant, whereas others are not. Further, long-term survival of the two M. chimaera strains is consistent with the presence of that species in Sorin 3T heater-coolers shipped throughout the world.