"Mycobacterium genavense" is a proposed new species recently reported to cause disseminated infections in 18 patients with AIDS in Europe. We have recovered "M. genavense" as slowly growing fastidious mycobacteria in blood cultures of seven patients with AIDS. In the original studies of "M. genavense," the fastidious organism grew only in BACTEC 13A vials. The Seattle, Washington, isolates of "M. genavense" also failed to grow when subcultured from 13A vials to routine solid media, but dysgonic colonies were produced on Middlebrook 7H11 agar supplemented with mycobactin J. The mycolic acid pattern of patients' isolates closely resembled that of the type strain of Mycobacterium simiae when analyzed by one- and two-dimensional thin-layer chromatography and by high-performance liquid chromatography. Whole-cell fatty acid analyses by gas-liquid chromatography distinguished the isolates from M. simiae but misidentified them as Mycobacterium fortuitum. Sequence determinations of the hypervariable regions of the 16S rRNA gene indicate that these organisms belong to the recently proposed new species "M. genavense." Growth from Middlebrook 7H11 agar supplemented with mycobactin J consistently yielded positive tests for catalase (semiquantitative and at 68 degrees C), pyrazinamidase, and urease which enable mycobacteriology laboratories to presumptively identify "M. genavense" without nucleic acid analyses. The failure of "M. genavense" to grow on conventional mycobacterial solid media suggests that mycobacterial blood cultures should include a broth medium incubated for at least 8 weeks.