Fungal Infections


Species/common name: Candida tropicalis

Teleomorph: none

Natural habitat

Candida tropicalis represented 4% of yeasts obtained from seawater, sea sediments, mud flats, marine fish intestine, mangrove plants and marine algae, as well as shrimp, indicating its wide distribution in tropical and subtropical marine environments. It can also be cultured from various fruits, faeces (suggesting it is either a colonizer of the human gut, or found in foods) and soil.


Worldwide distribution, but is much more common as a cause of candidaemia in tropical and subtropical areas.


Most commonly isolated in blood as the cause of candidaemia in intensive care or neutropenic patients; up to 30% in some localities. A rare cause of oral or vaginal thrush. May cause disseminated disease (tissue invasive).


Causes bloodstream infection (candidaemia) and less commonly tissue invasive candidiasis. Rarely cause biofilm infections. Rarely causes oral or vaginal thrush. Often more pathogenic than Candida albicans.

Culture peculiarities

Colonies on Sabourand dextrose or yeast potato dextrose agar are cream-colored or off white to grey, dull, smooth, soft and creamy or wrinkled or rough. Colonies cannot

be dependably distinguished from other Candida species based on macroscopic morphology but the absence of terminal chlamydospores is characteristic. Several biochemical assimilation tests separate C. tropicalis from its nearest pathogenic relatives C. albicans and C. dubliniensis.

Biosafety level 2.

This fungal species must be managed in a laboratory with safety containment level 2

Antifungal resistance (intrinsic and acquired)

Isolates are generally susceptible to all commonly used antifungal agents, but a trailing endpoint and emergence of azole resistance is problematic. Rare instances of echinocandin and amphotericin B resistance have been described.

Industrial use:

Potential for efficient production of long–chain dicarboxylic acids (important precursor/intermediate molecules) and xylitol. Leads to colour loss in disperse industrial dyes because of decolorization. As a metal-resistant yeast, has potential for bioabsorption of cadmium and copper.



Candida tropicalis in lung tissue, in a patient with disseminated candidiasis.

Microscopic morphology of Candida tropicalis

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