Medical mycology

Molecular screening of 246 Portuguese Aspergillus isolates among different clinical and environmental sources.

PMID 24847040


Clinical and environmental samples from Portugal were screened for the presence of Aspergillus and the distributions of the species complexes were determined in order to understand how their distributions differ based on their source. Fifty-seven Aspergillus isolates from clinical samples were collected from 10 health institutions. Six species complexes were detected by internal transcribed spacer sequencing; Fumigati, Flavi, and Nigri were found most frequently (50.9%, 21.0%, and 15.8%, respectively). β-tubulin and calmodulin sequencing resulted in seven cryptic species (A. awamorii, A. brasiliensis, A. fructus, A. lentulus, A. sydowii, A. tubingensis, Emericella echinulata) being identified among the 57 isolates. Thirty-nine isolates of Aspergillus were recovered from beach sand and poultry farms, 31 from swine farms, and 80 from hospital environments, for a total 189 isolates. Eleven species complexes were found in these 189 isolates, and those belonging to the Versicolores species complex were found most frequently (23.8%). There was a significant association between the different environmental sources and distribution of the species complexes; the hospital environment had greater variability of species complexes than other environmental locations. A high prevalence of cryptic species within the Circumdati complex was detected in several environments; from the isolates analyzed, at least four cryptic species were identified, most of them growing at 37ºC. Because Aspergillus species complexes have different susceptibilities to antifungals, knowing the species-complex epidemiology for each setting, as well as the identification of cryptic species among the collected clinical isolates, is important. This may allow preventive and corrective measures to be taken, which may result in decreased exposure to those organisms and a better prognosis.