G.S. de Hoog
- Massive contamination of Exophiala dermatitidis and E. phaeomuriformis in railway stations in subtropical Turkey
- Volume | Issue number
- 175 | 5-6
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Science (FNWI)
- Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED)
In order to reveal the source of contamination of opportunistic fungi, their natural habitat has to be understood. Black yeast-like fungi are abundant in man-made environments, particularly in those that are rich in toxic hydrocarbons such as railway ties. In this study, we investigated the presence of black fungi on creosote-treated oak railway ties and concrete sleepers stained with petroleum oil. Samples were collected at two central stations in Turkish cities, Mersin and Adana, and from Tarsus town station located between these two. The sample locations had subtropical climates. A total of 570 railway samples, including 320 from oak and 250 from concrete, were collected. Cotton swabs moistened with sterile physiological saline were applied to the ties and inoculated onto malt extract agar followed by incubation at 37 °C. Overall, we recovered 97 black yeast-like fungi (17.0 % positive). Sixty-three fungi (19.7 %) were collected from creosote-treated oak, whereas 34 isolates (13.6 %) were derived from concrete; the difference was significant (P = 0.05). Identification using rDNA internal transcribed spacer revealed Exophiala dermatitidis (57.7 %) and Exophiala phaeomuriformis (42.3 %). This study suggested that hydrocarbons enrich these opportunistic black yeasts. An eventual health risk is discussed.
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