, Volume 84, Issue 2, pp 95-101

First online:

Studies in the differentiation between Microsporum ferrugineum Ota and Trichophyton soudanense Joyeux

  • Irene WeitzmanAffiliated withCity of New York, Department of Health Bureau of Laboratories
  • , Stanley RosenthalAffiliated withNew York University Medical Center

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A study, conducted with 20 isolates of Microsporum ferrugineum and 12 isolates of Trichophyton soudanense, revealed that some of the discrepancies in the literature regarding their characteristics and differentiation were due to methodology, strain variation and the use of an insufficient number of isolates. We found all isolates of T. soudanense to be urease negative and gelatinase positive (usually by the first week); to produce brown to black colonies on Lowenstein-Jensen medium; to rapidly decompose casein and more slowly tyrosine; to grow well or better at 37°C as compared to room temperature; to produce reflexive branching on cornmeal Tween agar and abundant microconidia on casero medium and to exhibit no sexual reaction with either mating type of Arthroderma simii. All but one isolate demonstrated restricted growth on lactose agar and only three isolates perforated hair.

In contrast, we found 18 of 20 isolates of M. ferrugineum to be urease positive in urea broth (most isolates were negative on urea agar); all produced light-colored colonies on Lowenstein-Jensen medium; spreading colonies on lactose agar and failed to perforate hair in vitro or to produce reflexive branching. Most isolates manifested poorer to no growth at 37°C compared to room temperature and all but one failed to decompose casein and tyrosine. A few strains produced macroconidia and/ or microconidia on casero medium and some reacted sexually with A. simii (a) or (−) mating type. Gelatin hydrolysis was variable.

We suggest the following key tests to differentiate M. ferrugineum from T. soudanense: urease activity in urea broth; colony color on Lowenstein-Jensen medium; growth on lactose agar; growth at 37° C compared to room temperature; presence of reflexive branching on cornmeal Tween agar.