Document Type


Date of Original Version



Biochemistry, Microbiology and Molecular Genetics


A method for cultivating and isolating Lyme disease spirochetes, Borrelia burgdorferi, from the saliva of vector ticks, Ixodes scapularis (formerly known as Ixodes dammini), is described. Saliva was collected from partially engorged ticks after application of pilocarpine to induce salivation. B. burgdorferi was isolated from 8 of 14 (57%) of the saliva samples derived from ticks infected with the bacteria, as determined by direct immunofluorescent-antibody assay of tick hemolymph. A comparison of the protein profiles of the salivary isolates and a highly passaged strain (B31) showed that the salivary isolates all lacked a 22-kDa protein known to increase with continuous passage, but exhibited larger amounts of the OspA and OspB proteins than did the highly passaged B31 strain.