Development of an in vitro diagnostic technique for Malassezia furfur
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Science
Malasseziafurfur (synonym Pitryosporum ovale) is a dimorphic, lipophilic yeast that is a commensal agent on human skin. M. furfur causes the skin conditions pityriasis versicolor, Malassezia folliculitits and seborrhoeic dermatitis. It also contaminate catheters supplying lipid emulsion which can led to pulmonary infections or septicaemia. Due to the increasing number of immunocompromised patients, the frequency and severity of M. furfur is escalating. Difficulty in culture is due to limited knowledge about the nutrient requirements of M. furfur, which leads to erroneous diagnosis and incorrect treatment. The pathogenic nature of M. furfur led to investigations into the contagious nature of M. furfur infections. Some nutrient requirements of M. furfur were investigated using various commercially available media, in addition to other media developed from this work. The inhibitory effects of antifungal agents were investigated. The degradation of its cell wall was investigated using various cellulitic enzymes. Results indicate the possible transferral of M. furfur infections from dead skin cells. M. furfur appears to be able to be cultured on a variety of commercially available media provided a lipid source is present. A modified bioMérieux ID32C Identification System could be useful for rapid identification of M. furfur. M. furfur also requires taurocholic acid for optimum growth and is inhibited by thiarubrine A. The results show that M. furfur is not difficult to culture, therefore, laboratories should be able to accurately identify the organism and thus assist clinicians in the diagnosis and treatment of conditions caused by this yeast.