Optimal growth conditions for Borrelia
Author: LymeRICK ,
Marie Kroun, MD - upd. Nov. 2008
Original URL for this article: http://lymerick.net/Borrelia-growth-optimum.html
PubMed search, with
"Borreli*+optim*+growth" as criteria:
Pubmed search: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez?cmd=Search&db=PubMed&term=Borreli*+optim*+growth+temperature
NOTE it seems that the
most common European strains B. afzelii and B.
garinii has both 4-6 degree C HIGHER growth optimum, than the original
US strain Borrelia burgdorferi B31, which did grow well also at
... below 20 degree C
there is little chance of obtaining positive
culture in modified BSK-II medium.
IMPLICATIONs of the
Whenever culture of Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato is being attempted,
one should keep the temperature in the range of 35-37 degree
order to have the best possible chance of
getting growth of ALL the 3 in EU common Borrelia strains!
It is noteworthy to mention in this context that many patients
report that they experience a drop in temperature concurrent with start
of a Borrelia flare of about 0.5 to 1 degree C (first day) concurrent
with having chills and/or very cold extemities ....
In my project temperature (measured in rectum) could be
noticed dropping from 37-37.5 degree C down to the
to 36.5 degree C at begin of flare.
Later (about 6-12 hours after start of flare) the patient
like getting a fever, yet measure a temperature of "only" 37.7 degree C
This would have been named FEVER (38.7 degree C) if the
temperature increase of 1.7 degree C had been added to a previous level
of 37.0 before
- but is only named SUBFEBRILE when the same increase of 1.7
degree C is added to a previously lowered temperature of 36.0 degree C!
Is it possible that Borrelia spirochaetes are able to
its mammal hosts temperature down to a temperature range that suits it
better for its optimum growth?
Growth temperature ranges of Borrelia
burgdorferi sensu lato
Hubalek Z, Halouzka J, Heroldova M. J
Med Microbiol 1998
Oct;47(10):929-32. PMID: 9788818
Three strains of Borrelia burgdorferi
sensu lato, representing three
human pathogenic genomospecies (B31, B. burgdorferi sensu stricto;
BR14, B. garinii; BR75, B. afzelii) were grown in BSK-H medium at
different temperatures and the spirochaetal cells were counted by
dark-field microscopy after 0, 4, 8, 16 and 48 daysApproximate optimum
the in-vitro growth were found to be:
||Range of temperature
||33 degrees C
|B. afzelii, strain BR75
||35 degrees C
||20-40 degrees C
|B. garinii, BR14
||37 degrees C
||20-41 degrees C
Maximum, optimum and minimum growth temperatures seem to be important
characteristics of B. burgdorferi s.l. strains, with relevance for the
symptomatology, epidemiology and epizoology of Lyme borreliosis.
Note the HIGHER mean optimum
temperature in the most common "EU"
strains, compared to the first found "US" strain B31!
Growth parameters of Borrelia
burgdorferi sensu stricto at various
Heroldova M, Nemec M, Hubalek Z.
Zentralbl Bakteriol 1998
Dec;288(4):451-5. PMID: 9987182
Growth of Borrelia burgdorferi sensu
strain B-31) was studied in Barbour-Stoenner-Kelly BSK-H
supplemented with 4.5% rabbit serum and antibiotics (phosphomycin,
rifampicin), at various temperatures to early stationary growth phase.
The number of cells was determined by darkfield microscopy. In the
range of cultivation temperatures of 25 degrees C to 37 degrees C,
generation time was between 8.26 and 12.36 h (the shortest one at 33
degrees C), and the specific growth rate between 0.056 and 0.083 h-1
(the highest one at 33 degrees C). The
optimum growth temperature for
B. burgdorferi was 33 degrees C, although good growth was also observed
at 28 degrees C, 30 degrees C, 35 degrees C and 37 degrees C.
strain grew well but slowly at the temperature of 25 degrees C, whereas
no growth was observed at
20 degrees C.
Clinical implications of delayed
growth of the Lyme borreliosis spirochete, Borrelia burgdorferi.
MacDonald AB, Berger BW, Schwan TG.
Acta Trop 1990 Dec; 48(2): 89-94. PMID: 1980573
Lyme borreliosis, a spirochetal
infection caused by Borrelia burgdorferi, may become clinically active
after a period of latency in the host. Active cases of Lyme disease may
show clinical relapse following antibiotic therapy. The latency and
relapse phenomena suggest that the Lyme disease spirochete is capable
of survival in the host for prolonged periods of time.
We studied 63
patients with erythema migrans, the pathognomonic
cutaneous lesion of Lyme borreliosis, and examined in vitro cultures of
biopsies from the active edge of the erythematous patch.
Sixteen biopsies yielded spirochetes after prolonged incubations of up
to 10.5 months, suggesting that Borrelia burgdorferi may be very slow
to divide in certain situations.
Some patients with Lyme borreliosis may require more than the currently
recommended two to three week course of antibiotic therapy to eradicate
strains of the spirochete which grow
16/63 (25%) of patients w/ EM, biopsy for Bb positive on
culture. Biopsies were cultures for up to 12 months! Temp. 35
degr. C [appropiate] for 3 weeks, thereafter temperature
was lowered to 24 degr. C
[suboptimal], see PMID:
time to detect motile spirochetes: 76-319 d (2.5-10.5 mo), mean
When biopsy was left in culture
medium vs removed after 24h, spirochetes could be seen sooner, 147d vs
Citation page 93, last paragraph:
are only able to kill actively dividing Borrelia. If a
borrelial cell does not divide at least once during the period of
antibiotic therapy, it may persist in the host and produce relapse or
recrudescence of disease. Therefore, some cases of Lyme borreliosis may
require prolonged periods of antibiotic therapy to influence those cell
lines of B. burgdorferi with a very slow cycle of cell
Anaerobic Enhanced culture of Borrelia garinii and Borrelia afzelii strains on a solid BSK-based medium in anaerobic conditions.
De Martino SJ et al. Res Microbiol. 2006 Oct;157(8):726-9. PMID: 16814991
growth of 29 human strains from the three main pathogenic species of
Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato on a solid BSK-based medium was
compared in two culture atmospheres: 3% CO(2) air and anaerobiosis.
All strains grew under anaerobic conditions,
whereas only 13 strains were able to grow in aerobiosis with 3% CO(2)
(P<0.001). In the latter condition, 75% of the B. burgdorferi sensu
stricto strains grew versus 33% of the B. garinii and B. afzelii
strains. These data suggest that, especially
for B. garinii and B. afzelii species, anaerobic conditions enhance
growth yield and speed of low-passage Borrelia strains.
Well, below reference is NOT
about a Borrelia
sensu lato strain, yet was included in this list,
because it is
Borrelia that also has a relatively high optimal growth
temperature of 34-37
degreee C, supporting above statement about implications of current
knowledge about temperature optimum for growth of BORRELIAE:
A novel, fast-growing Borrelia sp.
isolated from the hard tick Hyalomma
aegyptium in Turkey.
GŁner ES, Hashimoto
N, Kadosaka T, Imai Y, Masuzawa T. Microbiology. 2003
Sep;149(Pt 9):2539-44. PMID: 12949178
fast-growing spirochaete was isolated from the hard tick Hyalomma
aegyptium (family Ixodidae, subfamily Metastriata) using
Barbour-Stoenner-Kelly (BSK) II medium. Tick samples were taken during
the summer of 2000 from the Istanbul area in northwestern Turkey.
Sixty-seven of 153 adults (44%) and 72 of 185 nymphs (39%) were
infected with the novel spirochaete, whereas none of the 20 larvae
examined were infected. The optimal growth temperature of the
spirochaete in BSK II medium was 34-37 degrees C, and it could grow at
39 degrees C. Doubling times at 34 and 37 degrees C were 5.3 and 5.1 h,
respectively. Six pure cultures of the spirochaete were obtained and
characterized by microscopic observation, sequence analysis of the
flagellin gene (flaB), SDS-PAGE and Western blotting. The spirochaete
was morphologically similar to those of the genus Borrelia and
contained a 41 kDa protein reactive with mAb H9724 specific to the
flagellin of a Borrelia species. Polyclonal antibody raised to this
spirochaete reacted with several antigen bands, whereas no bands were
detected with Borrelia burgdorferi, Borrelia hermsii, Borrelia
turicatae and Borrelia parkeri. The flaB sequences of the six isolates
showed high similarity, with sequence similarity values ranging from
99.2 to 100%; however, the similarity of the isolates' flaB sequences
to those of the Lyme-disease-related Borrelia and
relapsing-fever-associated Borrelia species was less than 90%. These
findings suggest that the unique spirochaete is a member of the genus
Borrelia, and differs from previously described Borrelia
The optimal growth
of this Borrelia spirochaete in BSK II medium was 34–37 degree C, and
it could grow at
39 degree C.
Which is/are the common mammal host
blood meals for this particular Ixodes tick, Hyalomma
Can this new strain cause Lyme-like
infectious disease in mammals? - and
in that case, which symptoms are caused by