The key difference between mycoplasma and ureaplasma is that mycoplasma is small bacteria that lack cell walls while ureaplasma is a class of mycoplasma commonly found in people’s urinary or genital tract.
Mycoplasma species are the smallest bacteria discovered yet with the smallest genomes and a minimum number of highly essential organelles. The speciality of the mycoplasma is the absence of a cell wall, so they are wall-less bacteria. Hence, they do not have a definite shape. Generally, they are spherical to filamentous shaped cells. Ureaplasma is a class of mycoplasma. They are present in the people’s urinary or genital tract as a part of normal flora.
1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What is Mycoplasma
3. What is Ureaplasma
4. Similarities Between Mycoplasma and Ureaplasma
5. Side by Side Comparison – Mycoplasma vs Ureaplasma in Tabular Form
What is Mycoplasma?
Mycoplasma is a genus of bacteria that consists of wall-less bacteria. Cell wall determines the shape of the bacterium. Since mycoplasma species do not contain a rigid cell wall, they do not possess a definite shape. They are highly pleomorphic. Moreover, mycoplasma species are gram-negative, aerobic or facultative aerobic bacteria. They can be parasitic or saprotrophic. There are about 200 different species belonging to this genus. Among them, only a few species cause diseases to human. Four species have been recognized as human pathogens, which causes significant clinical infections. They are Mycoplasma pneumoniae, Mycoplasma hominis, Mycoplasma, genitalium, and Ureaplasma species.
Mycoplasma species cannot be easily destroyed or controlled by common antibiotics such as penicillin or beta-lactum antibiotics which target the cell wall synthesis. Their infections are persistent and hard to diagnose and cure. Moreover, they contaminate cell cultures, causing serious problems in research laboratories and industrial settings.
What is Ureaplasma?
Ureaplasma is a class of bacteria that belongs to mycoplasma. Thus, they also lack cell walls. Since they do not have cell walls, they are resistant to some common antibiotics, including penicillin. Normally, they are present in the urinary tract and the genital tract of people. They live as normal flora. But, they can cause diseases when they increase their population. They can affect male and female reproductive systems. Most importantly, ureaplasma can transmit from mother to newborns, causing diseases. Not only that, ureaplasma can transmit from person to person during sexual contact. Ureaplasma urealyticum is a species of ureaplasma that spreads mainly via sexual contact. Furthermore, ureaplasma can cause adverse pregnancy outcomes. Ureaplasma infections are common in people who have a weakened immune system.
What are the Similarities Between Mycoplasma and Ureaplasma?
- Ureaplasma is a class of bacteria that belong to mycoplasma.
- Thus, both mycoplasma and ureaplasma lack cell walls.
- Therefore, they are pleomorphic bacteria.
- They lack a nucleus and other membrane-bound cell organelles.
- Moreover, they do not respond to the Gram reaction.
- Besides, they are not susceptible to many commonly prescribed antimicrobial agents, including beta-lactams.
What is the Difference Between Mycoplasma and Ureaplasma?
Mycoplasma is a genus of the smallest bacteria that lack cell walls, while ureaplasma is a class of mycoplasma present mainly in the urinary and genital tract. So, this is the key difference between mycoplasma and ureaplasma.
Moreover, while mycoplasma can be both parasitic and saprophytic, ureaplasma is parasitic.
Below infographic summarizes the difference between mycoplasma and ureaplasma.
Summary – Mycoplasma vs Ureaplasma
Mycoplasma is a genus of bacteria that lack cell walls. They are the smallest bacteria having very small genomes. Their characteristic feature is the resistance they show against many antibiotics since antibiotics cannot target cell walls to destroy them. Ureaplasma is a class of mycoplasma prevalent in the urogenital tract of both men and women. They live as a part of the bacterial population in the urinary and genital tract. But, upon colonization, they cause diseases in people who have weakened immune systems. So, this summarizes the difference between mycoplasma and ureaplasma.
1. Razin, Shmuel. “Mycoplasmas.” Medical Microbiology. 4th Edition., U.S. National Library of Medicine, 1 Jan. 1996, Available here.
2. Berry, Jennifer. “Ureaplasma: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment.” Medical News Today, MediLexicon International, Available here.