Fungal Infections

Species/common name:

Several new species of Apophysomyces have been recently described and accepted in this genus. They are extremely difficult to distinguish by classical methods and clinical patterns of disease are indistinguishable. Therefore, we have decided to describe them altogether. The 4 species included in the genus are: A. elegans, A. ossiformis, A. trapeziformis and A. variabilis.

Natural habitat

Isolated in soil and decaying plant debris.

Geography

Worldwide distribution but more frequent in tropical and subtropical areas

Frequency

Unlike other Zygomycetes, frequency of infection is more common with immunocompetent hosts. The real frequency is unknown but it is far more common in tropical and subtropical areas. A. trapeziformis has recently been identified as the cause of infections in 13 survivors of the Joplin tornado in Missouri, USA. More info 

Diseases

The most common clinical pictures are cutaneous and subcutaneous infections following the traumatic implantation of the spores.

Sinus infections have also been described.  

Culture peculiarities

Great expertise is required to differentiate the three species of the complex. Experts can distinguish them by the morphology of their sporangiophores and sporangiospores. It is advisable to confirm identify by means of DNA sequencing the ITS fragment.

Fast growing; pale white turning brownish-grey with age. Microscopically, pyriform sporangia, apophyses funnel or bell-shaped. Sporangiospores are different depending on the species being bone-shaped, trapezoid-shaped or variable-shaped.

Antifungal resistance (intrinsic and acquired)

All isolates are intrinsically resistant to fluconazole, ketoconazole, voriconazole and the echinocandins. Usually susceptible to amphotericin B and posaconazole. Variably susceptible to itraconazole.

Biosafety level 2

This organism can be handled in a biosafety level 2 laboratory.

Industrial use:

None

Images

Apophysomyces
Microscopic morphology of Apophysomyces variabilis

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