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J Clin Microbiol. 1985 November; 22(5): 828–834.
PMCID: PMC268536

Encapsulation and capsular types in isolates of Staphylococcus aureus from different sources and relationship to phage types.


The relationship of capsular types of Staphylococcus aureus to type of infection, carrier state, and phage type was studied in a collection of 477 isolates from 380 infection sites. Capsular polysaccharides were demonstrated by precipitation and agglutination with 11 monospecific antisera. When only one isolate from each infection was considered, 63% were of type 8 and 16% were of type 5. Of all the isolates tested, over 90% were encapsulated. We did not demonstrate any marked difference in the distribution of capsular types between isolates from the blood stream or purulent processes and isolates from healthy carriers or food. Most isolates from bovine mastitis milk had nontypeable capsules. The capsular type seemed stable in culture, and encapsulation had no apparent influence on susceptibility to phages. Of 27 phage-propagating strains maintained via culture transfer on artificial media over many years, 16 (59%) produced capsules. A striking association between certain phage patterns and capsular types was demonstrated.

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