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Mycobactin is a siderophore used by members of the genus Mycobacterium to shuttle free extracellular iron ions into the cytoplasm of mycobacterial cells.[1] The pathogen M. tuberculosis can synthesize its own mycobactin for this purpose, however there are other mycobacteria such as M. avium subspecies paratuberculosis that cannot produce this siderophore and thus it must be supplied to cultivate this organism in the lab.[2]


  1. ^ McMahon, M. D.; Rush, J. S.; Thomas, M. G. (2012). "Analyses of MbtB, MbtE, and MbtF Suggest Revisions to the Mycobactin Biosynthesis Pathway in Mycobacterium tuberculosis". Journal of Bacteriology. 194 (11): 2809–18. doi:10.1128/JB.00088-12. PMC 3370630. PMID 22447909.
  2. ^ Adúriz, J.J.; Juste, R.A.; Cortabarria, N. (1995). "Lack of mycobactin dependence of mycobacteria isolated on Middlebrook 7H11 from clinical cases of ovine paratuberculosis". Veterinary Microbiology. 45 (2–3): 211–7. doi:10.1016/0378-1135(95)00037-B. PMID 7571372.