Mycobacterium tuberculosis on L÷wenstein-Jensen medium. Cultivated five weeks in an aerobic
Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB) is a pathogenic bacterial species in the genus Mycobacterium and the causative agent of most cases of tuberculosis. First discovered in 1882 by Robert Koch, M. tuberculosis has an unusual, waxy coating on the cell surface (primarily mycolic acid), which makes the cells impervious to Gram staining so acid-fast detection techniques are used instead.
Tuberculosis usually attacks the lungs but can also affect other parts of the body. It is spread through the air when people who have an active MTB infection cough, sneeze, or otherwise transmit their saliva through the air. Most infections in humans result in an asymptomatic, latent infection, and about one in ten latent infections eventually progresses to active disease, which, if left untreated, kills more than 50% of its victims.