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Mycoses. 1998 Dec;41(11-12):493-500.

Demonstration of Malassezia furfur and M. sympodialis together with M. pachydermatis in veterinary specimens.

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Zentrum für Dermatologie und Andrologie, Justus-Liebig-Universität Giessen, Germany.


In the present study, 47 wild-type isolates of the genus Malassezia were isolated from dog and cat specimens by means of a simple differentiating system recently published. The purpose was to determine whether any of the other seven Malassezia spp. apart from M. pachydermatis occur in carnivores. Of the 47 isolates, three had been obtained from cats (ear 2, skin 1) and 44 from dogs (ear 37, skin 3, faeces 2, claw and paw 2). After primary isolation, they were subcultured on mDixon agar and then purified and differentiated by means of assimilation of Cremophor EL, splitting of esculin, growth on lipid-free medium and formation of tryptophan-dependent pigments and fluorochromes. Thus, a total of 100 strains could be obtained from the 47 primary isolates. Referring to the source material, M. pachydermatis was found in 83%, M. furfur in 45% and M. sympodialis in 75%. More than 80% of cultures were mixed, comprising two or all three species; a single species was isolated in only nine cases. This shows that animals are not colonized by M. pachydermatis alone, as has been thought until now, but in nearly all cases by mixed cultures. Thus, (domestic) animals could well be a reservoir for other Malassezia species such as M. furfur and M. sympodialis. Surprisingly, Malassezia yeasts were also isolated from dog faeces, indicating that they apparently pass through the gastrointestinal tract in unchanged form after having been taken up by licking colonized areas. The survivability of Malassezia yeasts in highly acid milieu was also demonstrated in vitro. The study confirms the usefulness of the new test procedures and allows new statements concerning the epidemiology of Malassezia yeasts.

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