Mycoplasma fermentans is a parasitic microorganism in the form of a bacterium, which has already been detected in different regions of the human body. It belongs to the class of Mollicutes, especially to the family of Mycoplasmataceae.

What is Mycoplasma fermentans?

Mycoplasma fermentans was first discovered in 1952 by Ruiter and Wentholt in the investigation of a genital infection. Two years later, it was again proven by Edward, who gave the bacterium in 1955 its present name. Since then, four different strains of the species have been extensively studied and characterized.

Mycoplasma fermentans lives as a parasite in the human body, which acts as its sole host and thus as a source of food for cholesterol, sugar and various amino acids. Since a pathogenic effect of the bacterium is still controversial, Mycoplasma fermentans is sometimes referred to as a commensal or paraphage - life forms that live at the expense of their host, this in return but not hurt.

The primary habitat of Mycoplasma fermentans is the genital area, where it adheres to the surface of cells from the epithelium, a basal tissue without blood vessels. In addition, its occurrence in respiratory and urinary tracts is confirmed.

Occurrence, distribution & characteristics

The main characteristic of Mycoplasma fermentans is the missing cell wall. The bacterium is surrounded only by a lipoprotein membrane and therefore can not be stained with the classical Gram stain for presentation in light microscopy. Equally absent is the otherwise common bacterial capsule of sugar or amino acids. It usually serves to protect against the human immune system. Sporen also does not form Mycoplasma fermentans, which means that no, often otherwise very thick, spore wall can be created for protection. The osmotic resistance of the bacterium is therefore quite low.

Due to the lack of cell walls penicillins which are popularly used today are ineffective against Mycoplasma fermentans, because the antibiotics are exclusively designed to block the synthesis of the bacterial cell walls. The same applies to the enzyme lysozyme, which occurs in the body, and plays a role in the human immune system by breaking down cell walls of pathogenic bacteria. In contrast, so-called macrolides, which disrupt the protein biosynthesis of the bacterium and thus inhibit its growth, can be used effectively. An alternative to this are also quinolones, which attack the bacterial genome.

With a size of only 0.1 to 0.6 microns, Mycoplasma fermentans is one of the smallest bacteria capable of self-propagating. It has an active metabolism and is demonstrably able to convert or ferment sugars, such as glucose or fructose, as well as various amino acids by means of enzymes. However, Mycoplasma fermentans is unable to perform some metabolic processes. An example of this is the lack of cholesterol biosynthesis and the resulting need for dietary cholesterol.

Mycoplasma fermentans has both an RNA and a DNA, but the genome is very small. It appears in a circular form and is now fully known in its entirety. Overall, just over a million base pairs are present.

Mycoplasma fermentans has special surface molecules for attachment to human epithelial cells. However, this is not the otherwise common in bacteria filiform processes (Pili). No oxygen is needed for subsequent growth. Mycoplasma fermentans, however, is facultative anaerobic, thus able to grow even in the presence of oxygen. The ideal growth condition is a temperature of 37 degrees Celsius. In this regard, the bacterium is thus optimally adapted to life in humans.

Diseases & complaints

The fact that Mycoplasma fermentans is not a symbiont, but a unilateral beneficiary of humans as a host organism has been the subject of previous research. To what extent the bacterium, however, has a pathogenic, ie disease-causing effect, is still unclear. Several studies have already been carried out in this regard, but they did not provide any clear evidence for the relationship between the occurrence of Mycoplasma fermentans and certain diseases. Further investigations of this kind have so far been made, whereby the importance of this bacterium in the human body remains uncertain.

Nevertheless, Mycoplasma fermentans is still detected in pathological examinations of certain diseases and therefore associated with them. It makes the bacterium appear to serve as a kind of support for the actual pathogens. Often, in this regard, a co-infection or a coupling with another infection, so that a reinforcement respectively an acceleration of the infection process is caused.

Mainly Mycoplasma fermentans is associated with HIV infection, as autopsies have already demonstrated the co-occurrence of the bacterium. But also to certain respiratory diseases, rheumatic complaints or arthritis should give it a reference.

Mycoplasma fermentans often refers to fatigue and muscle pain as symptoms of possible inflammation. A connection to diseases such as fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome, short CFS, is therefore close, but not proven. Even with inflammations in the preferred habitat, the genital area, so far no evidence has been produced as the cause.

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