Mycobacterium smegmatis was first discovered and isolated in 1884 by Lustgarten. The name smegmatis was first given to Bacillus smegmatis by Trevisan in 1889. Lehmann and Neumann gave the species name smegmatis to Mycobacterium smegmatis in 1899. Mycobacterium smegmatis lives in aggregate layers of cells attached to each other in a community called a biofilm. Mycobacterium smegmatis are mostly found in the soil, water, and plants. They tend mostly to exist near large bodies of water. Isolates have been discovered in 16 States, Australia, Russia, Canada, and Switzerland. Mycobacterium smegmatis is classified as a saprophytic species that rarely causes disease and isn't dependent on living in an animal, unlike some pathogenic Mycobacterium. The bacteria will be finely wrinkled and creamy white while it is growing on accessible nutrients. When Mycobacterium smegmatis has been growing for quite some time (generally after 48 hr growth) and is abundant, the color will turn from white to a nonpigmented creamy yellow. It will also be waxy because of the high amount of unique Gram-positive cell wall coated with mycolic acids. The bacteria also ranges in textures, being seen as smooth, flat and glistening or coarsely folded or finely wrinkled. Mycobacterium smegmatis is very useful for the research analysis of other species in the genus Mycobacteria in cell culture laboratories. There are several Mycobacterial species that are common, harmful diseases, like Mycobacterium leprea, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, and Mycobacterium bovis. Mycobacterium smegmatis is so important because it is fast growing and non-pathogenic compared to these species. There are many similarities between Mycobacterium smegmatis and the much more virulent obligate pathogens that are Mycobacteria. The most significant is the complementary uses of mycothiol biosynthesis of Mycobacterium for making an essential thiol that is responsible for life. If it is knocked out, the species will be terminated and a treatment will be found. There is also research involved in finding drug therapies that will inhibit the myolic acid biosynthesis which is essential for creating the unique bacterial cell wall. Currently, there are many laboratories that are culturing and isolating this species to determine the pathological course of deleterious Mycobacteria.