Dimorphic fungi are fungi that can exist in the form of both mold and yeast. This is usually brought about by change in temperature and the fungi are also described as thermally dimorphic fungi. An example is Penicillium marneffei, a human pathogen that grows as a mold at room temperature, and as a yeast at human body temperature.
Ecology of dimorphic fungi
Several species of dimorphic fungi are important pathogens of humans and other animals, including Coccidioides immitis, Paracoccidioides brasiliensis, Candida albicans, Blastomyces dermatitidis, Histoplasma capsulatum, Sporothrix schenckii, and Emmonsia sp. Some diseases caused by the fungi are:
In medical mycology, these memory aids help students remember that among human pathogens, dimorphism largely reflects temperature:
- Mold in the Cold, Yeast in the Heat (Beast)
- Body Heat Probably (Changes) Shape
- Blastomyces dermatitidis, Histoplasma capsulatum, Paracoccidioides brasiliensis, (Coccidioides immitis) is in parentheses because it changes to a spherule of endospores, not yeast, in the heat), Sporothrix schenckii.
- This phrase says "Probably" because there is always an exception (in this case fungi like Candida albicans) which change in the opposite direction: to mold in the heat!
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