Application of continuous culture for assessing antibiotic activity against Mycobacterium tuberculosis

Charlotte L. Hendon-Dunn, Saba Anwar, Christopher Burton, Joanna Bacon*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


There is a proportion of the M. tuberculosis population that is refractory to the bactericidal action of antituberculosis antibiotics due to phenotypic tolerance. This tolerance can be impacted by environmental stimuli and the subsequent physiological state of the organism. It may be the result of preexisting populations of slow growing/non replicating bacteria that are protected from antibiotic action. It still remains unclear how the slow growth of M. tuberculosis contributes to antibiotic resistance and antibiotic tolerance. Here, we present a method for assessing the activity of antibiotics against M. tuberculosis using continuous culture, which is the only system that can be used to control bacterial growth rate and study the impact of slow or fast growth on the organism’s response to antibiotic exposure.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMethods in Molecular Biology
PublisherHumana Press Inc.
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Publication series

NameMethods in Molecular Biology
ISSN (Print)1064-3745

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding was received from Department of Health Grant in Aid and the National Institute of Health Research. The views expressed in this publication are those of the authors and not necessarily those of Public Health England, the National Institute for Health Research, or the Department of Health. The research leading to these results also received funding from the Innovative Medicines Initiative Joint Undertaking under grant agreement n°115337, resources of which are composed of financial contribution from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) and EFPIA companies’ in-kind contribution. The authors acknowledge Kim Hatch and Jon Allnutt for the huge contribution they have made to the development of chemostat models for the growth of M. tuberculosis and application to the assessment of antibiotic activity and to Professor Philip Marsh for his guidance and constructive input.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.


  • Antibiotic resistance
  • Chemostat
  • Continuous culture
  • Mycobacteria


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