ABSTRACT: Cryptococcus neoformans (C neoformans) is a frequent cause of invasive fungal disease in immunocompromised human hosts. Ninety-eight samples of pigeon droppings were collected from the pigeon shelters in Seoul, and cultured on birdseed agar (BSA) and Sabouraud dextrose agar (SDA). One hundred yeast-like colonies were selected and identified via phenotype characteristics, such as colony morphology and biochemical characteristics. This was then followed with genotyping via sequencing of the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region. The colonies were classified into four kinds of colony color types: brown type (BrT), beige type (BeT), pink type (PT), and white type (WT). Numbers of isolated BrT, BeT, PT, and WT colonies were 22 (22%), 30 (30%), 19 (19%), and 39 (39%), respectively. All BrT colonies were identified as C neoformans. BeT were identified as 19 isolates of Cryptococcus laurentii, 10 isolates of Malassezia furfur, and 1 isolate of Cryptococcus uniguttulatus. PT was divided into two colony color types: light-PT (l-PT) and deep-PT (d-PT). Eighteen of l-PT and one of d-PT were identified as Rhodotorula glutinis and Rhodotorula mucilaginosa, respectively. WT were identified as 34 isolates of Cryptococcus guilliermondii, 3 isolates of Cryptococcus zeylanoides, 1 isolate of Cryptococcus sake, and 1 isolate of Stephanoascus ciferrii. Most strains were classified identically with the use of either phenotype or genotyping techniques, but C uniguttulatus and C sake classified by phenotyping were Pseudozyma aphidis and Cryptococcus famata by genotyping. This rapid screening technique of pathogenic yeast-like fungi by only colony characteristics is also expected to be very useful for primary yeast screening. Additionally, we investigated the seasonal variations of C neoformans and other yeast-like fungi from 379 pigeon-dropping samples that were collected from February 2011 to March 2011. We isolated 685 yeast-like fungi from the samples. Almost all C neoformans and yeast-like fungi were isolated in the fall (298 strains, 43.5%) and spring (244 strains, 35.6%). A few yeast-like fungi were isolated in winter (98 strains, 14.3%) and summer (45 strains, 6%). These results would be used as an important indicator related to epidemiology and prevention of pathogenic yeast-like fungi infections transmitted through pigeon droppings.
Avian Diseases 03/2012; 56(1):58-64. · 1.46 Impact Factor