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Blastomyces

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Blastomyces

Blastomyces
Blastomyces dermatitidis
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Fungi
Phylum: Ascomycota
Class: Ascomycetes
Subclass: Incertae sedis
Order: Incertae sedis
Family: Incertae sedis
Genus: Blastomyces

Blastomyces is the genus of an imperfect fungus, in other words, a fungus whose taxonomic relationships are unknown or undefined. Blastomyces are dimorphic fungi, they assume different forms at different tepmeratures. They grow as mycelial form at room temperature (25-30°C) and as yeast-like forms at the warmer body-temperature (37-40°C).

The most well known species of the genus is Blastomyces dermatitidis, responsible for the medical condition blastomycosis in humans and other animals. Other former species have been redefined to other genera. For example, Blastomyces brasiliensis is one the many obsolete synonyms of the species Paracoccidioides brasiliensis. Also, Blastomyces coccidioides is a former name for Coccidioides immitis.[1]

B. dermatitidis is a dimorphic fungal pathogen, found primarily in the Mid-West and Northern United States and Canada. It exists in the soil in a filamentous form that produces spores directly upon the wall of the hyphae, lacking any kind of fruiting body to aid in aerosolization/dissemination of the spores. The natural reservoir of this organism in the environment is not clearly defined, but it seems to be associated with rivers and lakes. Blastomyces is endemic to the Mississippi and Ohio river valleys and the vicinity of the Great Lakes. Outbreaks of blastomycosis are often associated with disruptions of the soil that might lead to the artificial elevation of spore and/or hyphal fragments in the air. These agents infect human and animal hosts when they are inhaled. At the elevated temperature of 37°C in a host, the fungus undergoes a phase transition to the pathogenic yeast form. Yeast form cells multiply in the lung and may cause disease in immuno-competent hosts, sometimes disseminating to the skin, central nervous system and bones. Blastomycosis is more commonly diagnosed in pets than in humans, especially dogs.

References

Klein, B. S., Vergeront, J. M., Weeks, R. J. (1986) "Isolation of Blastomyces dermatitidis in soil associated with a large outbreak of blastomycosis in Wisconsin". N. Engl. J. Med. 314, 529-534.

Disalvo, A.F. (1992) "Ecology of Blastomyces dermatitidis" in: Blastomycosis (Al-Doory, Y. and Disalvo, A. F., eds), 43-73, Plenum Publishing Corp.

External links

  • Medical Subject Headings (MeSH)
  • http://www.mycology.adelaide.edu.au/Fungal_Descriptions/Dimorphic_Pathogens/Blastomyces/
  • http://pathmicro.med.sc.edu/mycology/mycology-6.htm
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