Thirty four cultures of slow growing, Tween-80 negative mycobacteria were analysed by pyrolysis mass spectrometry. The results showed that pyrolysis mass spectrometry could positively distinguish strains of Mycobacterium xenopi from those of the Mycobacterium avium-intracellulare (MAI) complex. Pyrolysis mass spectrometry may be a useful technique for the rapid characterisation of non-tuberculous mycobacteria in such clinical settings as their isolation from immunocompromised patients-for example, those with AIDS.
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