Mycolic acids analysis by thin-layer chromatography (TLC) has been employed by several laboratories worldwide as a method for fast identification of mycobacteria. This method was introduced in Brazil by our laboratory in 1992 as a routine identification technique. Up to the present, 861 strains isolated were identified by mycolic acids TLC and by standard biochemical tests; 61% out of these strains came as clinical samples, 4% isolated from frogs and 35% as environmental samples. Mycobacterium tuberculosis strains identified by classical methods were confirmed by their mycolic acids contents (I, III and IV). The method allowed earlier differentiation of M. avium complex - MAC (mycolic acids I, IV and VI) from M. simiae (acids I, II and IV), both with similar biochemical properties. The method also permitted to distinguish M. fortuitum (acids I and V) from M. chelonae (acids I and II) , and to detect mixed mycobacterial infections cases as M. tuberculosis with MAC and M. fortuitum with MAC. Concluding, four years experience shows that mycolic acids TLC is an easy, reliable, fast and inexpensive method, an important tool to put together conventional mycobacteria identification methods.