Acid-fastness is a physical property of some bacteria referring to their resistance to decolorization by acids during staining procedures.cite journal |author=Madison B |title=Application of stains in clinical microbiology |journal=Biotech Histochem |volume=76 |issue=3 |pages=119–25 |year=2001 |pmid=11475314 |doi=10.1080/714028138] cite book | author = Ryan KJ; Ray CG (editors) | title = Sherris Medical Microbiology | edition = 4th ed. | publisher = McGraw Hill | year = 2004 | id = ISBN 0-8385-8529-9 ]
Acid-fast organisms are difficult to characterize using standard microbiological techniques (e.g. Gram staining), though they can be stained using concentrated dyes, particularly when the staining process is combined with heat. Once stained, these organisms resist the dilute acid and/or ethanol-based de-colorization procedures common in many staining protocols—hence the name "acid-fast".
mycolic acidcontent of certain bacterial cell walls, like those of " Mycobacteria", is responsible for the staining pattern of poor absorption followed by high retention. The most common staining technique used to identify acid-fast bacteria is the Ziehl-Neelsen stain, in which the bacteria are stained bright red and stand out clearly against a blue background. Another method is the Kinyounmethod, in which the bacteria are stained bright red and stand out clearly against a green background. Acid-fast bacteria can also be visualized by fluorescence microscopy using specific fluorescent dyes ( auramine-rhodamine stain, for example).cite journal |author=Abe C |title= [Standardization of laboratory tests for tuberculosis and their proficiency testing] |journal=Kekkaku |volume=78 |issue=8 |pages=541–51 |year=2003 |pmid=14509226] Some bacteria may also be partially acid-fast.
Notable Acid fast structures
Very few structures are acid fast, this makes staining for acid-fastness particularly useful in diagnosis.
Mycobacteria- "M.tuberculosis", "M.Leprae", "M.smegmatis" and atypical "Mycobacterium"
* Head of
* Bacterial spores
Cryptosporidium parvum", " Isospora" and " Cyclospora" cysts
Online protocol examples
* [http://www-medlib.med.utah.edu/WebPath/HISTHTML/MANUALS/AFB.PDF Ziehl-Neelsen] protocol (PDF format).
* Alternate [http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/pathology/protocols/afb.html Ellis & Zabrowarny method] for staining AFB.
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