Role of Air in Growth and Production of Toxic Shock Syndrome Toxin 1 by Staphylococcus Aureus in Experimental Cotton and Rayon Tampons

Rev Infect Dis. Jan-Feb 1989;11 Suppl 1:S176-81. doi: 10.1093/clinids/11.supplement_1.s176.


Rayon and cotton fibers of the type used in the manufacture of tampons were extracted for 6 hours in isopropyl alcohol in a soxhlet apparatus to remove all finishes from the fiber surface. The fibers were used to produce experimental tampons of commercial design. Using a syringe method, the tampons were saturated with diluted staphylococci in brain-heart infusion medium and incubated at 37 degrees C. Spent medium was expressed from the tampons and analyzed for growth of staphylococci and production of toxic shock syndrome toxin 1 (TSST-1). Results revealed no statistical difference in the production of TSST-1 by cells grown in rayon or cotton. However, a significant increase in TSST-1 production was observed in tampon cultures when compared with medium controls. When similar experiments were performed with tampons saturated with nitrogen, a significant decrease in TSST-1 production was observed when compared with air-saturated tampons. The results indicate that the oxygen normally present in tampons plays a significant role in modulating the production of TSST-1.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aerobiosis
  • Anaerobiosis
  • Bacterial Toxins*
  • Cellulose
  • Culture Media
  • Enterotoxins / biosynthesis*
  • Gossypium
  • Humans
  • Staphylococcus aureus / growth & development*
  • Staphylococcus aureus / metabolism
  • Superantigens*
  • Tampons, Surgical*


  • Bacterial Toxins
  • Culture Media
  • Enterotoxins
  • Superantigens
  • enterotoxin F, Staphylococcal
  • Cellulose
  • rayon, purified