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Electron microscopic description of glycocalyx and fimbriae on the surface of Pasteurella haemolytica-A1.

  • D W Morck
  • T J Raybould
  • S D Acres
  • L A Babiuk
  • J Nelligan
  • J W Costerton
Publication Date
Jan 01, 1987


Several electron microscopic techniques were used to examine the surface of cells of Pasteurella haemolytica (biotype A, serotype 1) grown in vitro. All methods showed the presence of a very extensive glycocalyx on logarithmic phase (6 h) cells grown in liquid media. The anionic glycocalyx of these cells stained well with ruthenium red, but collapsed during dehydration for electron microscopy unless stabilized with specific antibodies. When the same techniques were used to examine cells in the stationary phase (18 h) the glycocalyx was much reduced. Large numbers of fimbriae were seen on both 6 h and 18 h cells grown in fluid media without shaking. In summary, logarithmic phase cells of P. haemolytica have both fimbriae and extensive anionic glycocalyx at their surface and we suggest that either or both of these structures may be important in the colonization of the bovine respiratory tract and the subsequent pathogenesis of Pasteurella pneumonia.

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