Colony formation and morphology in Borrelia burgdorferi

T. J. Kurtti, U. G. Munderloh, R. C. Johnson, G. G. Ahlstrand

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Two strains of Borrelia burgdorferi, B31 and 297, formed colonies when plated onto Barbour-Stoenner-Kelly medium solidified with agarose (1.3%) and incubated in a candle jar at 34°C. Colonies differing in morphology were observed in both strains after 2 to 3 weeks of incubation. Strain B31 colonies were either compact, round (mean diameter, 0.43 mm), and restricted to the surface of the agarose medium or diffuse (mean diameter, 1.80 mm) and penetrating into the solid medium. Strain 297 colonies (mean diameter, 1.43 mm) either showed a raised center surrounded by a diffuse ring of spirochetes or consisted of numerous small spirochetal aggregates. Both colony types expanded into the agarose medium. Scanning electron and light microscopy confirmed that the colonies were formed by spirochetes. Twisted tangles of intertwined spirochetes were visible on the surface, with numerous spherical bodies among them, especially in the central regions. At the periphery, the borreliae were more loosely packed, and individual coils were discernible.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2054-2058
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of clinical microbiology
Issue number11
StatePublished - 1987


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