BCG Substrains Change Their Outermost Surface as a Function of Growth Media

Sandra Guallar-Garrido, Farners Almiñana-Rapún, Víctor Campo-Pérez, Eduard Torrents, Marina Luquin, Esther Julián*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Mycobacterium bovis bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) efficacy as an immunotherapy tool can be influenced by the genetic background or immune status of the treated population and by the BCG substrain used. BCG comprises several substrains with genetic differences that elicit diverse phenotypic characteristics. Moreover, modifications of phenotypic characteristics can be influenced by culture conditions. However, several culture media formulations are used worldwide to produce BCG. To elucidate the influence of growth conditions on BCG characteristics, five different substrains were grown on two culture media, and the lipidic profile and physico-chemical properties were evaluated. Our results show that each BCG substrain displays a variety of lipidic profiles on the outermost surface depending on the growth conditions. These modifications lead to a breadth of hydrophobicity patterns and a different ability to reduce neutral red dye within the same BCG substrain, suggesting the influence of BCG growth conditions on the interaction between BCG cells and host cells.

Original languageEnglish
Article number40
Number of pages8
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2022


  • Cell wall
  • Hydrophobicity
  • Lipid
  • Neutral red
  • PDIM
  • PGL


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