Composition of the bacterial flora in tonsilloliths

Midori Tsuneishi, Tatsuo Yamamoto, Susumu Kokeguchi, Naofumi Tamaki, Kazuhiro Fukui, Tatsuo Watanabe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)


Tonsilloliths are a potential cause of oral malodor. In this study, microbial profiles and composition of tonsilloliths were determined using culture-independent molecular methods and scanning electron microscopy. 16S ribosomal RNA bacterial genes (16S rDNAs) isolated from tonsilloliths of 6 individuals were amplified by PCR and cloned into Escherichia coli. Partial 16S rDNA sequences of approximately 600 bases of cloned inserts were used to determine species identity by comparison with sequences of known species. Characteristics of bacteria on the surface and inside the tonsillolith were analyzed using scanning electron microscopy. Anaerobic bacteria detected in tonsilloliths belonged to the genera Eubacterium, Fusobacterium, Megasphaera, Porphyromonas, Prevotella, Selenomonas and Tannerella, all of which appear to be associated with production of volatile sulfur compounds. Electron microscopy revealed cocci and rods on the surface and rods predominating inside the tonsilloliths. These results support the tonsillolith as an origin of oral malodor.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2384-2389
Number of pages6
JournalMicrobes and Infection
Issue number9-10
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2006


  • Bacteria
  • Oral malodor
  • Tonsillolith
  • Volatile sulfur compound

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Infectious Diseases


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