American Journal of Epidemiology and Infectious Disease
ISSN (Print): 2333-116X ISSN (Online): 2333-1275 Website: Editor-in-chief: Apply for this position
Open Access
Journal Browser
American Journal of Epidemiology and Infectious Disease. 2014, 2(3), 83-87
DOI: 10.12691/ajeid-2-3-3
Open AccessReview Article

Non Diphtheritic Corynebacteria (NDC) and Their Clinical Significance: Clinical Microbiologist’s Perspective

K V Ramana1, , G Vikram2, P PadmaWali1, Anand K1, Mohan Rao1, Sanjeev D Rao1, Ratna Mani MS3, VenkataSarada CH3 and Ratna Rao3

1Department of Microbiology, Prathima Institute of Medical Sciences, Karimnagar, India

2Department of Biotechnology, Vaagdevi Degree and PG College, Warangal, India

3Apollo health city, Jubilee Hills, Hyderabad, India

Pub. Date: July 08, 2014

Cite this paper:
K V Ramana, G Vikram, P PadmaWali, Anand K, Mohan Rao, Sanjeev D Rao, Ratna Mani MS, VenkataSarada CH and Ratna Rao. Non Diphtheritic Corynebacteria (NDC) and Their Clinical Significance: Clinical Microbiologist’s Perspective. American Journal of Epidemiology and Infectious Disease. 2014; 2(3):83-87. doi: 10.12691/ajeid-2-3-3


Aerobic, Gram positive, catalase positive and non-spore forming bacilli, which are morphologically similar to Corynebacterium diphtheriae are described as either diphtheroids or coryneform bacteria, resembling C diphtheriae. Corynebacteria are a group of bacteria placed under the family corynebacteriaceae, which come under the phylum, Actinobacteria. Among the members of genus Corynebacterium, only C diphtheriae is considered as a pathogen but other species are present either as normal flora in human or as saprophytes in the environment and have rarely been associated with human infections. Of late, there have been increased reports of both new species of genus Corynebacterium and their occurrence in various human infections. It is now imperative that clinical microbiologists and clinicians understand the potential role of NDC in human infections. Only few studies globally have characterized the human clinical isolates of NDC and their antimicrobial susceptibility patterns. This review tries toexamine? the potential pathogenic nature of NDC, which warrants their identification and prompt reporting when isolated from human clinical specimens.

clinical microbiology Non-diptheritic Corynebacteria Medically important Corynebacterial species

Creative CommonsThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit


Figure of 2


[1]  Dorella FA, Pacheco LGC, Oliveira SC, Miyoshi A and Azevedo V. Coryne bacterium pseudotuberculosis: microbiology, biochemical properties, pathogenesis and molecular studies of virulence. Vet Res. 2006; 37: 201-218
[2]  Kalinowsky J Bathe B, Bartels D, Bischoff N, Bott M, Burkovsky A, et al. The complete Corynebacterium glutamicum ATCC 13032 genome sequence and its impact on the production of L-aspartate-derived amino acids and vitamins. J Biotechnol 2003; 104: 5-25.
[3]  Bernard KA and G Funke. Genus Corynebacterium,. In: WB Whitman, M Goodfellow, P Kampfer, HBusse, ME Trujillo, W Ludwig, K Suzuki and A Parte (eds.), Bergey’s manual of systematic bacteriology. 2012; 5: p. Start1-end Springer, New York.
[4]  Casella, P., M. A. Bosoni, and A. Tommasi. 1988. Recurrent Corynebacterium aquaticum peritonitis in a patient undergoing continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis. Clin. Microbiol. Newsl. 10: 62-63.
[5]  Tendler, C., and E. J. Bottone. 1989. Corynebacterium aquaticum urinary tract infection in a neonate, and concepts regarding the role of the organism as a neonatal pathogen. J. Clin. Microbiol. 27: 343-345.
[6]  Beckwith, D. G., J. A. Jahre, and S. Haggerty. 1986. Isolation of Corynebacterium aquaticum from spinal fluid of an infant with meningitis. J. Clin. Microbiol. 23: 375-376.
[7]  Oleander A, Ketowska I. Wound infections due to opportunistic corynebacterium species. Med Dosw Mikrobiol 2010; 62: 135-140.
[8]  Kaplan, A., and F. Israel. 1988. Corynebacterium aquaticum infection in a patient with chronic granulomatous disease. Am. J. Med. Sci. 296: 57-58.
[9]  Funke, G., G. Martinetti Lucchini, G. E. Pfyfer, M. Marchiani, and A. von Graevenitz. 1993. Characteristics of CDC group 1 and group 1-like coryneform bacteria isolated from clinical specimens. J. Clin. Microbiol. 31: 2907-2912.
[10]  M. Aravena-Roman,C. Sproer, B. Straubler,T. Inglis and A. F. Yassin. Corynebacterium pilbarense sp. nov., a non lipophilic corynebacterium isolated from a human ankle aspirate International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology 2010; 60: 1484-1487
[11]  Colt, H. G., Morris, J. F., Marston, B. J. & Sewell, D. L. (1991). Necrotizing tracheitis caused by Corynebacterium pseudodiphtheriticum : unique case and review. Rev Infect Dis 13, 73-76.
[12]  Funke, G., Lawson, P. A. & Collins, M. D. (1997a). Corynebacterium Mucifaciens sp. nov., an unusual species from human clinical material. Int J Syst Bacteriol 47, 952–957
[13]  Neubauer, M., Sourek, J., Ryc, M., Bohacek, J., Mara, M. & Mnukova, J. (1991). Corynebacterium accolens sp. nov., a gram-positive rod exhibiting satellitism, from clinical material. Syst Appl Microbiol 14, 46-51.
[14]  Riegel, P., Ruimy, R., de Briel, D., Pre vost, G., Jehl, F., Christen, R. & Monteil, H. (1995). Genomic diversity and phylogenetic relationships among lipid-requiring diphtheroids from humans and characterization of Corynebacterium macginleyi sp. nov. Int J Syst Bacteriol 45, 128-133.
[15]  Yassin, A. F. (2007). Corynebacterium ureicelerivorans sp. nov., a lipophilic bacterium isolated from blood culture. Int J Syst Evol Microbiol 57, 1200-1203.
[16]  Guido Funke, Reinhard Frodl, Kathryn A. Bernard and Ralf Englert. Corynebacterium freiburgense sp. nov., isolated from a wound obtained from a dog bite. Int J Syst Bacteriol 2009 vol. 59 no. 8 2054-2057.
[17]  Alexander Von Graevenitz and Kathryn Bernard. The genus Corynbacterium-Medical. Prokaryotes 2006; 3: 819-842.
[18]  Kathryn Bernard. The genus Cirynebacterium and other medically-relevant, coryneform like bacteria. J Clin Microbiol.
[19]  Coyle, M. B. & Lipsky, B. J. (1990). Coryneform bacteria in infectious diseases: clinical and laboratory aspects. Clin Microbiol Rev 3, 227-246.
[20]  Bernard, K. A., M. Bellefeuille, and E. P. Ewan.. Cellular fatty acid composition as an adjunct to the identification of asporogenous, aerobic gram-positive rods. J. Clin. Microbiol. 1991; 29: 83-89.
[21]  Funke G Bernard KA. Coryneform Gram-positive rods. In: Murray PR, Baron EJ, Editors 8th Ed. Manual of Clinical microbiology. 2003; 38: 472-496, ASM press Washington.
[22]  Fernandez-Natal MI, JA Saez-Nieto, S Valdezate, RH Rodriguez-Pollan, S Lapena, F Cachon and F Soriano. Isolation of Corynebacterium ureiceleriovorans from normally sterile sites in humans. Eur J Clin Microbiol Infect Dis 2009; 28: 677-681.
[23]  Funke G and K A Bernard. Coryneform Gram-positive rods. In: Manual of Clinical Microbiology 10th Ed. (eds.) J Versalovic, K C Carroll, G Funke, J H Jorgensen, M L Landry and D W Warnock. ASM press Washington DC 2011; 1: 4123-442.
[24]  Rennie RP, Borosnikoff C, L Turnbull, L B Reller, S Mirrett, W Janda, K Ristow and A Kirlcich. Multicenter evaluation of Vitek 2 anaerobe and Corynebacterium identification card J Clin Microbiol 2008; 46: 2646-2651.
[25]  Hollis, D. G., and R. E. Weaver. 1981. Gram-positive organisms: a guide to identification. Special Bacteriology Section, Centers for Disease Control, Atlanta.
[26]  Gaillot O, N Blondiaux, CLoiez, F Wallet, N Lemaitre, S Herwegh and R J Courcol. Cost-effectiveness of switch to matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization-time of flight mass spectrosmetry for routine bacterial identification. J Clin Microbiol 2011; 49: 4412.
[27]  S C Soares, R T J Ramos, W M Silva, L C Olivaira, L G Amorim, R Hirata Jr, Et al Coryne bacterium pathogenic species in next-generation genomic era: the use of EDGAR and PIPS software and the importance of pathogenecity islands identification in pan-genomic analyses of pathogenic species. 2013, 1584-1599.
[28]  Heydari H, Siow CC, Tan MF, Jakubovics NS, Wee WY, et al. CoryneBase: Corynebacterium genomic resources and analysis tools at your fingertips. Plos One 2014; 9(1): e86318.
[29]  Reddy BS, Chaudhury A, Kalawat U, Jayaprada R, Reddy G, Ramana GV. Isolation, speciation and antibiogram of clinically relevant non-diptherial corynebacteria (Diptheroids). Ind J Med Microbiol 2012; 30: 52-57.
[30]  Weiss K, Laverdie’re M, Rivest R. Comparision of antimicrobial susceptibilities of Corynebacterium species b y broth microdilution and disk diffusion methods. Antimicrob Agents Chemother 1996; 40: 930-3.
[31]  Andrews JM. For the BSAC Working party on susceptibility testing. BSAC standardized disc susceptibility testing method (version 8). J Antimicrobial Chemother 2009; 64: 454-489.
[32]  Clinical Laboratory Standards Institute. 2010. M45-2A. Methods for Antimicrobial dilution and disk susceptibility testing of infrequently isolated or fastidious bacteria; approved guideline, Volume 30 Number 18. Clinical Laboratory Standards Institute, Wayne, PA.
[33]  Clinical Laboratory Standards Institute. 2012. M100-S22. Performance standards for antimicrobial susceptibility testing; twenty-second international supplement. Volume 32, Number 1. Clinical Laboratory Standards Institute, Wayne, PA.
[34]  Williams DY, Selepak ST, Gill VJ. Identification of clinical isolates of nondiptherial Corynebacterium species and their antibiotic susceptibility patterns. Diag Microbiol Infect Dis 1993; 17: 23-28.
[35]  Byram A, Eksi F, and Balci I. Resistance problem of coryneform bacteria isolated from intensive care unit samples. Res J Microbiol 2006; 1: 136-141.
[36]  Turk S, Punab M, Mandar R. Antimicrobial susceptibility patterns of coryneform bacteria isolated from semen. Open Infect Dis J 2009;3: 31-6.
[37]  Verroken, C. Bauraing, A. Deplano, P. Bogaerts, D. Huang, G. Wauters and Y. Glupczynski. Epidemiological investigation of a nosocomial outbreak of multidrug-resistant Corynebacterium striatum at one Belgian university hospital. Clinical Microbiology and Infection Volume 20, Issue 1, pages 44–50, January 2014
[38]  Lars F. Westblade,Farah Shams, Scott Duong, Oosman Tariq, Alan Bulbin, Dava Klirsfeld,et al. Septic Arthritis of a Native Knee Joint Due to Corynebacterium striatum. J. Clin. Microbiol. May 2014 vol. 52 no. 5 1786-1788.
[39]  Yu Kawasaki, MD, Kousaku Matsubara, Haruko Ishihara, Hiroyuki Nigami, Aya Iwata, Koji Kawaguchi, et al. Corynebacterium propinquum as the first cause of infective endocarditis in childhood. Journal of Infection and Chemotherapy Volume 20, Issue 5, May 2014, Pages 317-319.
[40]  Magdalena Szemraj,1 Anna Kwaszewska,1 Renata Pawlak,2 and Eligia M. Szewczyk. Macrolide, Lincosamide, and Streptogramin B Resistance in Lipophilic Corynebacteria Inhabiting Healthy Human Skin. Microb Drug Resist. 2014 Apr 15 PMID:24735183.
[41]  Jasmin Schröder, Irena Maus, Katja Meyer, Stephanie Wördemann, Jochen Blom, Sebastian Jaenicke et al. Complete genome sequence, lifestyle, and multi-drug resistance of the human pathogen Corynebacterium resistens DSM 45100 isolated from blood samples of a leukemia patient. BMC Genomics 2012, 13:141.
[42]  Pui-Ying Iroh Tam, Mark A. Fisher and Nancy S. Miller. Corynebacterium falsenii Bacteremia Occurring in an Infant on Vancomycin Therapy. J. Clin. Microbiol. September 2010 vol. 48 no. 9 3440-3442.
[43]  Jorge Guerrero, Pavan Mallur, Erik Folch, Colleen Keyes, Isaac E Stillman, Sidhu P Gangadharan. Necrotizing Tracheitis Secondary to Corynebacterium Species Presenting With Central Airway Obstruction. Respiratory Care January 1, 2014 vol. 59 no. 1 e5-e8.
[44]  Sophie Edouard, Fehmida Bibi, Dhamodharan Ramasamy, Jean-Christophe Lagier, Esam Ibraheem Azhar, Catherine Robert,et al. Non-contiguous finished genome sequence and description of Corynebacterium jeddahense sp. nov. Standards in Genomic Sciences Vol 9, No 3 (2013).