Fungi Identification & Sensitivity
Fungi are microorganisms that exist in nature as single cells called yeasts or multicellular moulds. There are more than 50000 species in the environment, but less than 200 species are associated with human diseases. Only 20-25 species are common causes of fungal infections.
Fungal infections represent the invasion of tissues by one or more fungi species, ranging from superficial skin infections to severe deep tissues, blood, lungs or systemic ailment.
In the laboratory, skin, hair and nail tissue are collected for microscopy and culture to establish or confirm the diagnosis of fungal infection.
Specimen for fungal microscopy and culture are as follows;
- Scrapping of scales
- Skin stripped with adhesive tape
- Hair pulled out from the roots
- Brushing from an area of calling in the scalp
- Nail clippings or skin scraped from under a nail
- Skin biopsy
- A moist swab (mouth, vagina, etc.)
We can perform direct microscopy of skin scrapings and nail clippings using one or more of these methods
- Potassium hydroxide(KOH) preparation
- Fluorescent staining
- An unstained wet mount
- A stained dried smear
- Periodic-acid-Schiff (PAS) staining
Microscopy can help identify dermatophytes by using fungal hyphae, Arthrospores, Arthrocondia, Endothrix and Ectothrix.
We can identify a yeast infection by the presence of yeast cells or pseudohyphae.
Fungal culture & sensitivity
Fungal culture & sensitivity helps identify which organism is responsible for the infection, while sensitivity helps define or select the most suitable antifungal drug meant for such illness.
Growing fungi in culture may take several weeks (usually 21 days) when incubated at 25°c-37°c. We inoculate the specimen into a medium, such as Sabouraud Dextrose Agar (SDA) containing chloramphenicol. We use cycloheximide when a mould requires identification.
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