Notes on Corynebacterium

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Genus: Corynebacterium.

• Gram +; non-spore forming, immotile, aerobi Corynebacterium.

• Widespread in nature.

• Forms metachromatic granules.

• Generally inhabit the soil and are found on the surface of plants.

• Gram-positive pleomorphic rods that are often club-shaped and arranged to form V shapes or palisades.

• Facultative anaerobes, but some are strict aerobes.

• Form volutin granules and are dyed with methylene blue.

• Usually thrive in the throat, but the Corynebacterium diphtheria can cause disease.

• Non-motile, non-spore-forming.

Corynebacterium diphtheriae:

• Gray or black colonies growing on tellurite medium.

• Granules produced on Loeffler's medium.

• Toxin genes (lysogeny, beta-corynephage) spread one bacterium to another.

• Spreads by respiratory droplets.


• Not invasive.

• Colonizes epithelium of oropharynx or skin.

• Diphtheria toxin ribosylates EF-2, and inhibits protein synthesis.

• Grey pseudomembrane obstructs larynx/trachea.

• May cause heart/nerve damage.


• Diphtheria: pseudomembrane, bull neck, myocarditis, recurrent laryngeal n. palsy.

Lab tests:

Elek test +.


• Erythromycin and antitoxin.


• DTap, DTP or Td.

Additional Readings:

Basic Bacteriology

1. Bacterial Locations and Toxins
2. Growth Medias and Oxygen Requirements
3. Staphylococus
4. Streptococcus
5. Enterococcus
6. Bacillus
7. Listeria
8. Corynebacterium
9. Actinomyces
10. Nocadria
11. Mycobacterium
12. Clostridium
13. Neisseria
14. Pseudomonas
15. Legionella
16. Bordetella
17. Francisella
18. Brucella
19. Campylobacter
20. Escherichia
21. Shigella
22. Klebsiella
23. Salmonella
24. Yersinia
25. Proteus
26. Vibrio
27. Pasteurella
28. Haemophilus
29. Bacteriodes and Prevotella
30. Treponema
31. Borrelia
32. Rickettsia
33. Coxiella
34. Ehrlichia
35. Chlamydia
36. Mycoplasma
37. What is an ELEK's Test?
38. Causes of Orchitis
39. What is Leprosy?
40. What is Folliculitis?
41. What is Botulism?
42. How to interpret PPD (Purified Protein Derivative) results?
43. Prenatal Infections

Related Topics

1. Bacterial vs viral infections

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