Ecology of Pseudallescheria and Scedosporium species in human-dominated and natural environments and their distribution in clinical samples

Med Mycol. 2009 Jun;47(4):398-405. doi: 10.1080/13693780802585317. Epub 2008 Dec 12.


This study aims to determine the occurrence of Pseudallescheria and Scedosporium species in natural and human-dominated environments. Habitats (136 sampling sites) in a transect with increasing human impact were investigated (natural areas, agricultural soils, urban playgrounds, industrial areas). Physico-chemical parameters were measured to characterize the different areas included in this investigation. Fungal identification was performed by morphology and sequence data analysis. Comparative description of virulence was largely based on the database of the ECMM/ISHAM Working Group on Pseudallescheria/Scedosporium Infections. Pseudallescheria and Scedosporium species were most abundant in industrial areas, followed by urban playgrounds and agricultural areas. None of the species were isolated from natural habitats. The abundance of Pseudallescheria and Scedosporium species could be correlated with increasing nitrogen concentrations (P<0.01) and decreasing pH (P<0.05) within a pH range of 6.1-7.5. In general, frequency of the different Pseudallescheria and Scedosporium species in the environment is strongly enhanced by human activities, and largely differs from species distribution in clinical settings, suggesting that these species have different degrees of virulence. Pseudallescheria boydii is relatively frequently found as agent of human disease, while Scedosporium dehoogii is found almost exclusively in the environment. Scedosporium apiospermum is responsible for the majority of infections and is found at comparable frequency in the environment; S. aurantiacum and P. minutispora showed similar spectra, but at much lower frequencies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biodiversity*
  • DNA, Fungal / chemistry
  • DNA, Fungal / genetics
  • Ecology*
  • Environmental Microbiology*
  • Humans
  • Microscopy
  • Mycoses / microbiology*
  • Pseudallescheria / cytology
  • Pseudallescheria / genetics
  • Pseudallescheria / isolation & purification*
  • Scedosporium / cytology
  • Scedosporium / genetics
  • Scedosporium / isolation & purification*
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA


  • DNA, Fungal