The identity of nine clinical isolates recovered from Czech patients and presumptively identified as Aspergillus sp. section Candidi based on colony morphology was revised using sequences of β-tubulin, calmodulin gene sequence, and internal transcribed spacer rDNA. Six isolates were from suspected and proven onychomycosis, one from otitis externa, and two associated with probable invasive aspergillosis. The results showed that one Aspergillus candidus isolate was the cause of otitis externa, and both isolates obtained from sputa of patients with probable invasive aspergillosis were reidentified as A. carneus (sect. Terrei) and A. flavus (sect. Flavi). Three isolates from nail scrapings were identified as A. tritici, a verified agent of nondermatophyte onychomycosis. One isolate from toenail was determined to be A. candidus and the two isolates belonged to a hitherto undescribed species, Aspergillus pragensis sp. nov. This species is well supported by phylogenetic analysis based on β-tubulin and calmodulin gene and is distinguishable from other members of sect. Candidi by red-brown reverse on malt extract agar, slow growth on Czapek-Dox agar and inability to grow at 37°C. A secondary metabolite analysis was also provided with comparison of metabolite spectrum to other species. Section Candidi now encompasses five species for which a dichotomous key based on colony characteristics is provided. All clinical isolates were tested for susceptibilities to selected antifungal agents using the Etest and disc diffusion method. Overall sect. Candidi members are highly susceptible to common antifungals.
Keywords: Aspergillus candidus; Aspergillus tritici; antifungal susceptibility testing; nondermatophyte onychomycosis; otomycosis; polyphasic approach.
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