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Excessive dandruff.jpg
A typical case of severe dandruff and dry scalp
Scientific classification

Behrend, 1890
Type species
Trichosporon beigelii

See text

Trichosporon is a genus of anamorphic fungi in the family Trichosporonaceae. All species of Trichosporon are yeasts with no known teleomorphs (sexual states). Most are typically isolated from soil, but several species occur as a natural part of the skin microbiota of humans and other animals. Proliferation of Trichosporon yeasts in the hair can lead to an unpleasant but non-serious condition known as white piedra. Trichosporon species can also cause severe opportunistic infections (trichosporonosis) in immunocompromised individuals.


The genus was first described by the German dermatologist Gustav Behrend in 1890, based on yeasts isolated from the hairs of a moustache where they were causing the condition known as "white piedra".[1] Behrend called his new species T. ovoides, but subsequently Pleurococcus beigelii (later recombined as Trichosporon beigelii) was considered to be an earlier name for the same species and was accepted as the type of the genus Trichosporon.

Over 100 additional yeast species were referred to Trichosporon by later authors.[2] With the advent of DNA sequencing, however, it became clear that many of these additional species belonged in other genera. Based on cladistic analysis of DNA sequences, just under 40 species are now accepted in the genus.[3]

DNA sequencing has also shown that white piedra can be caused by more than one Trichoporon species. As a result, Trichosporon beigelii has become a name of uncertain application. McPartland & Goff selected a neotype strain that makes T. beigelii synonymous with Trichosporon cutaneum.[4][5] Guého and others, however, have argued that T. beigelii should be discarded (as a dubious name) and Behrend's original T. ovoides (for which a neotype strain has also been selected) should become the type.[1] As a result of this uncertainty, the name T. beigelii is now obsolete.[6]

Description and habitat[edit]

Trichosporon species are distinguished microscopically by having yeast cells that germinate to produce hyaline hyphae that disarticulate at the septa, the hyphal compartments acting as arthroconidia (asexual propagules). No teleomorphic (sexual) states are known.

Species are widespread and have been isolated from a wide range of substrates, including human hair (Trichosporon ovoides), soil (T. guehoae), cabbages (T. brassicae), cheese (T. caseorum), scarab beetles (T. scarabaeorum), parrot droppings (T. coremiiforme), and sea water (T. dermatis).[3]

Human pathogens[edit]

Several Trichosporon species occur naturally as part of the microbiota of human skin. Occasionally, particularly in circumstances of high humidity, the fungus can proliferate, causing an unpleasant but harmless hair condition known as white piedra. Soft, pale nodules containing yeast cells and arthroconidia form on hairs of the scalp and body. The species responsible include Trichosporon ovoides, T. inkin,[7] T. asahii, T. mucoides, T. asteroides, and T. cutaneum. The obsolete name T. beigelii was formerly applied to all or any of these species.[8]

Much more serious opportunistic infections, collectively called trichosporonosis, have been reported in immunocompromised individuals. Species said to be agents of trichosporonosis are T. asahii, T. asteroides, T. cutaneum, T.dermatis, T. dohaense, T. inkin, T. loubieri, T. mucoides, and T. ovoides.[9][10][11]



  1. ^ a b Guého E, de Hoog GS, Smith MT (1992). "Neotypification of the genus Trichosporon". Antonie van Leeuwenhoek. 61 (4): 285–288. doi:10.1007/bf00713937. PMID 1497333. S2CID 43889990.
  2. ^ "Genus Record Details-Trichosporon". Index Fungorum. CAB International. Retrieved 2010-04-30.
  3. ^ a b Middelhoven WJ, Scorzetti G, Fell JW (2004). "Systematics of the anamorphic basidiomycetous yeast genus Trichosporon Behrend with the description of five novel species". International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology. 54 (Pt 3): 975–986. doi:10.1099/ijs.0.02859-0. PMID 15143052.
  4. ^ McPartland, JM; Goff, JP (1991). "Neotypification of Trichosporon beigelii: morphological, pathological and taxonomic considerations". Mycotaxon. 41: 173–178. INIST:5366626.
  5. ^[full citation needed]
  6. ^ Mycology Online: Trichosporon asahii "Mould Identification: A Virtual Self Assessment | Mycology Online". Archived from the original on February 12, 2010. Retrieved May 1, 2010.[full citation needed]
  7. ^ Magalhães AR, Bona de Mondino SS, da Silva M, Nishikawa MM (2008). "Morphological and biochemical characterization of the aetiological agents of white piedra" (PDF). Mem. Inst. Oswaldo Cruz. 103 (8): 786–790. doi:10.1590/s0074-02762008000800008. PMID 19148418. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-07-20.
  8. ^ Piedra at eMedicine
  9. ^ Sugita T, Nishikawa A, Shinoda T (1998). "Rapid detection of species of the opportunistic yeast Trichosporon by PCR". Journal of Clinical Microbiology. 36 (5): 1458–1460. doi:10.1128/JCM.36.5.1458-1460.1998. PMC 104855. PMID 9574732.
  10. ^ Marty FM, Barouch DH, Coakley EP, Baden LR (2003). "Disseminated trichosporonosis caused by Trichosporon loubieri". Journal of Clinical Microbiology. 41 (11): 5317–5320. doi:10.1128/JCM.41.11.5317-5320.2003. PMC 262469. PMID 14605194.
  11. ^ Taj-Aldeen SJ, Al-Ansari N, El Shafei S, Meis JF, Curfs-Breuker I, Theelen B, Boekhout T (2009). "Molecular identification and susceptibility of Trichosporon species isolated from clinical specimens in Qatar: Isolation of Trichosporon dohaense Taj-Aldeen, Meis & Boekhout sp. nov". Journal of Clinical Microbiology. 47 (6): 1791–1799. doi:10.1128/JCM.02222-08. PMC 2691106. PMID 19321719.
  12. ^ Motaung, Thabiso E.; Albertyn, Jacobus; Kock, Johan L. F.; Lee, Ching-Fu; Suh, Sung-Oui; Blackwell, Meredith; Pohl, Carolina H. (February 2013). "Trichosporon vanderwaltii sp. nov., an asexual basidiomycetous yeast isolated from soil and beetles". Antonie van Leeuwenhoek. 103 (2): 313–319. doi:10.1007/s10482-012-9811-2. PMID 22996387. S2CID 17174934.

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