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The Runyon classification of nontuberculous mycobacteria based on the rate of growth, production of yellow pigment and whether this pigment was produced in the dark or only after exposure to light.
It was introduced by Ernest Runyon in 1959.
On these bases, the nontuberculous mycobacteria are divided into four groups:
Slowly growing Mycobacteria 
The first three groups are classified as "Slowly growing Mycobacteria".
Runyon I: Photochromogens 
Runyon I organisms (photochromogens) are slow growing, and produce a yellow-orange pigment when exposed to light. Mycobacterium kansasii, Mycobacterium marinum, Mycobacterium asiaticum, Mycobacterium simiae.
Runyon II: Scotochromogens 
Runyon II organisms (scotochromogens) are slow growing, and produce a yellow-orange pigment in light or in the dark. Some become darker with exposure to light. Mycobacterium scrofulaceum, Mycobacterium gordonae, Mycobacterium szulgai, Mycobacterium xenopi, Mycobacterium celatum, Mycobacterium flavescens
Runyon III: Nonchromogenic 
Runyon III organisms are slow growing, and do not produce pigment. Note that some may produce very pale yellow, buff, or tan pigment but do not intensify upon light exposure. Mycobacterium avium-intracellulare, Mycobacterium terrae, Mycobacterium paratuberculosis, Mycobacterium shimoidae, Mycobacterium genavense
Runyon IV: Rapid Growers 
Runyon IV organisms are rapid growing for mycobacteria (colonies in 5 days). They do not produce pigment. Mycobacterium fortuitum, Mycobacterium peregrinum, Mycobacterium abscessus, Mycobacterium chelonae, Mycobacterium thermoresistibile
Some rapidly growing mycobacteria are considered "late-pigmenting".
- Rogall T, Wolters J, Flohr T, Böttger EC (October 1990). "Towards a phylogeny and definition of species at the molecular level within the genus Mycobacterium". International journal of systematic bacteriology 40 (4): 323–30. doi:10.1099/00207713-40-4-323. PMID 2275850.
- Runyon EH (January 1959). "Anonymous mycobacteria in pulmonary disease". The Medical clinics of North America 43 (1): 273–90. PMID 13612432.
- Brown-Elliott BA, Wallace RJ (October 2002). "Clinical and taxonomic status of pathogenic nonpigmented or late-pigmenting rapidly growing mycobacteria". Clin. Microbiol. Rev. 15 (4): 716–46. PMC 126856. PMID 12364376.
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