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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Runyon classification of nontuberculous mycobacteria based on the rate of growth, production of yellow pigment and whether this pigment was produced in the dark or only after exposure to light.[1]

It was introduced by Ernest Runyon in 1959.[2]

On these bases, the nontuberculous mycobacteria are divided into four groups:


Slowly growing Mycobacteria

The first three groups are classified as "Slowly growing Mycobacteria".


Runyon I: Photochromogens

Runyon I organisms (photochromogens) are slow growing, and produce a yellow-orange pigment when exposed to light. Mycobacterium kansasii, Mycobacterium marinum

Runyon II: Scotochromogens

Runyon II organisms (scotochromogens) are slow growing, and produce a yellow-orange pigment in light or in the dark. Mycobacterium scrofulaceum, Mycobacterium gordonae, Mycobacterium szulgai

Runyon III: Nonchromogenic

Runyon III organisms are slow growing, and do not produce pigment. Mycobacterium avium-intracellulare, Mycobacterium xenopi, Mycobacterium terrae

Runyon IV: Rapid Growers

Runyon IV organisms are rapid growing for mycobacteria (colonies in 5 days). They do not produce pigment. Mycobacterium fortuitum, Mycobacterium peregrinum, Mycobacterium abscessus, Mycobacterium chelonae

Some rapidly growing mycobacteria are considered "late-pigmenting".[3]


  1. ^ Rogall T, Wolters J, Flohr T, Böttger EC (October 1990). "Towards a phylogeny and definition of species at the molecular level within the genus Mycobacterium". International journal of systematic bacteriology 40 (4): 323–30. PMID 2275850.  
  2. ^ Runyon EH (January 1959). "Anonymous mycobacteria in pulmonary disease". The Medical clinics of North America 43 (1): 273–90. PMID 13612432.  
  3. ^ PMID 12364376


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