Virulence test using nematodes to prescreen Nocardia species capable of inducing neurodegeneration and behavioral disorders
Cells of Nocardia asteroides undergo structural and chemical changes, especially in the cell wall, during growth in brain heart infusion broth. Experiments were devised to determine whether these changes affected the virulence of Nocardia for mice. It took, on the average, 1,380 times the number of colony-forming units at the stationary phase to achieve the same mortality induced by the log-phase cells. Cells in either the lag phase or early stationary phase of growth were intermediate in the numbers of colony forming units required to kill mice. Dry-weight determinations at different stages of growth demonstrated that the log-phase organisms were approximately 10 times heavier than stationary-phase cells. Thus, on the basis of dry-weight (micrograms) values, the average colony-forming unit of log phase is approximately 130 times more virulent than in stationary-phase cultures. Therefore, the stage of growth affects greatly the virulence of N. asteroides.