Many substances, including proteins, carbohydrates, organic acids, fatty acids, and mycolic acids, may be detected by chromatography. Therefore, chromatographic methods can provide analytic, phenotypic fingerprints (Le., chromatograms) regarding the types and amounts of these substances within a bacterial cell. Comparison of chromatograms obtained with organisms of unknown identity with those of known identity is used to identify an organism from a clinical specimen. The chromatographic approach has greatest application when conventional phenotypic-based methods for identification are poor or nonexistent.
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