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Fatty acid methyl ester (FAME) derivatives were examined as a means of characterizing Borrelia burgdorferi isolates and distinguishing them from other spirochaetes. Analysis was performed using a gas liquid chromatography column in conjunction with Microbial Identification System (MIS) software. Reproducible FAME profiles were produced which distinguished Borrelia species, Serpulina hyodysenteriae and Leptospira icterohaemorrhagiae. Furthermore, the FAME profiles of four recognized Borrelia species (including two American isolates of Borrelia burgdorferi, B31 and JD1) were distinct from one another and from the BSK II medium in which they were grown. The results confirm previous reports that FAME profiles of bacteria represent a diagnostic phenotypic property and suggest that they may have applications in the chemotaxonomic classification of Borrelia species.

Original publication




Journal article


J Gen Microbiol

Publication Date





889 - 895


Borrelia, Brachyspira, Chromatography, Gas, Fatty Acids, Leptospira, Species Specificity