1.1 Antimycobacterial Studies
An Antimycobaterial is a substance that kills or inhibits the growth and activities of disease causing Mycobacteria (e.g., Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Mycobacterium Leprae, etc) that are responsible for fatal diseases such as Tuberculosis and leprosy. Antimicrobacterials can either kill microbes (microbiocidal) or prevent the growth of microbes (microbiostatic) (Hannan et al., 2011). Mycobacterium is a genius in the family of the Mycobacteriaceae, belonging to the phylum Actinobacteria, pathogens known to cause deadly diseases including tuberculosis (Mycobacterium tuberculosis) and leprosy (Mycobacterium leprae) are well known members of this genus. The word mycobacteria was derived from the Greek prefix, myco meaning fungus, due to the mold-like fashion in which mycobacterium grows on the surface of liquids when cultured (Kerr and Barrett, 2009). Mycobacteria have been known to colonize their hosts without the host showing any signs, billions of people around the world have asymptomatic infections of M. tuberculosis. Mycobacterial infections are notoriously difficult to treat, the organisms are hardy due to their cell wall, which is neither truly Gram negative nor positive (subject to gram’s stain). Furthermore, they naturally resist some antibiotics that disrupt cell wall biosynthesis, such as penicillin. Due to their hardy cell wall, they also have the ability to survive long exposure to acids, alkalis, detergents, oxidative bursts and many antibiotics. Most of them are susceptible to the antibiotics clarithromycin and rifampicin, however, antibiotic-resistant strains have emerged. The secretion of extracytoplasmic proteins in M. tuberculosis have proven to function in its virulence (McCann et al., 2009). Mycobacteria are classified into several groups based on diagnosis and treatment; M. tuberculosis complex, they can cause tuberculosis (they include: M. tuberculosis, M. bovia, M. africanum and M. microli), M. leprae, they cause Hansen’s disease or Leprosy, Nontuberculosis mycobacteria (NTM) include all the other mycobacteria, they can cause pulmonary disease resembling tuberculosis, lymphadenitis, skin disease, etc., also known as atypical mycobaterial infections (Ryan and Ray, 2004).
Synonyms: Tubercile bacillus
This is a species of mycobacterium that is the major causative agent of tuberculosis (TB). Discovered by Robert Koch in 1882, it was observed that the cell surface of M. tuberculosis has an unusual waxy coating which is mainly mycotic acid, thus, explaining its high lipid content in its wall, this makes the cells impervious to Gram staining as it will not retain any bacteriological stain, as a result, Acid-fast detection or Zeihl-Neelson techniques are used instead. Detection techniques used in TB diagnosis include; chest radiographs, tuberculin skin test and acid-fast stain. Due to the aerobic nature of M. Tuberculosis, it is a pathogen of the respiratory system, therefore it attacks the lungs (Todar, 2009). M.tuberculosis is a small bacillus with slightly increased virulence; it is resistant to weak disinfectants and can survive for weeks in a dry state which is due to the high lipid content of its cell wall (Murray et. al., 2005). Its cell wall prevents the fusion between its lysosme and a phagosome, this is the reason behind the inability of the alveolar macrophages in the lungs to digest the bacterium, instead, a fusion of vesicles filled with nutrients occurs, and thus, this leads to rapid multiplication of the bacteria. M. tuberculosis also neutralizes nitrogen intermediates, thereby, escaping macrophage-killing (Flynn and Chany, 2003).
1.2 Mycobacterium Tuberculosis and Drug Resistance.
Tuberculosis, also known as TB, is an...
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