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Parassitologia. 2008 Jun;50(1-2):69-71.

Skin diseases associated with Malassezia species in humans. Clinical features and diagnostic criteria.

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Dipartimento di Scienze Dermatologiche, Università di Firenze, Italy.


Malassezia yeasts not only cause the well known pityriasis versicolor and folliculitis, but also play an important role in other skin diseases, including seborrheic dermatitis and atopic dermatitis. The presence of Malassezia yeasts may be confirmed by direct microscopic examination and cultures of skin scrapings. In pityriasis versicolor the direct microscopic examination is the rapidest and surest test for confirming the clinical diagnosis. The preparation will show a cluster of globose budding spores with thick or double wall and short hyphae. For detecting Malassezia in the other diseases the cultures is preferable. Culture is useful both for confirming the clinical diagnosis and for epidemiological investigations. The identification of the Malassezia species is not easy. The microscopic observation of the colony direct towards the identification of Malassezia species, but it is not enough to identify the colonies definitely. Several biochemical tests are necessary for a precise identification, such as catalase reaction, growth on media without lipid sources, ability to utilize hydrophilic emulsifiers as sole lipid source, esculin test, tryptophan test.

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