, Volume 18, Issue 4, pp 357-362

Investigation in central Italy of the possible association between Cryptococcus neoformans var. Gattii and Eucalyptus camaldulensis

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The authors present a worldwide review of isolations of Cryptococcus neoformans, var. neoformans and C. neoformans var. gattii from animals and vegetation, referring in particular to the already well-known association of the former variety with Eucalyptus camaldulensis. They then review the Italian situation relative to this association and their studies carried out in Central Italy: in Latina (Lazio), Pisa, Viareggio and Lake Massaciuccoli (Tuscany). From the 256 E. camaldulensis trees examined C. neoformans var. gattii was not isolated. An E. camaldulensis tree situated in the nature reserve on Lake Massaciuccoli proved to be positive for C. neoformans var. neoformans. This variety was isolated from the leaves, flowers, bark and the debris at the foot of the tree, suggesting that it had colonized the entire tree and that it was capable of developing not only on its usual habitat (bird guano, soil rich with guano) but also on Eucalyptus trees. The identity of the isolates was confirmed by their genomic profiles obtained by random amplification polymorphic DNA (RAPD) with the primer (GACA)4. The presence of a single genotype indicates a sole source of contamination, perhaps brought by a bird coming from a contaminated environment.