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Infections due to Trichosporon species and Blastoschizomyces capitatus

Gary M Cox, MD
John R Perfect, MD
Section Editor
Carol A Kauffman, MD
Deputy Editor
Anna R Thorner, MD


Trichosporon species and Blastoschizomyces capitatus are related fungi and are rare causes of invasive infection in humans. Both can be a constituent of the normal microbiota but can also cause both superficial and invasive infections in humans. Invasive disease due to Trichosporon spp, called trichosporonosis, occurs almost exclusively in immunocompromised hosts, appears to be increasing in frequency, and is usually fatal. This fungus also causes a characteristic infection of hair shafts called white piedra.

The mycology, epidemiology, and clinical infections caused by both Trichosporon spp and the related fungus Blastoschizomyces capitatus will be reviewed here.


B. capitatus has also been called Geotrichum capitatum and Saprochaete capitata and the teleomorph has been called Dipodascus capitatus and Magnusiomyces capitatus, but in this topic we will stay with the nomenclature of Blastoschizomyces.


The mycology of Trichosporon spp is extremely complicated because the designation refers to a heterogeneous group of organisms. The heterogeneity results from the absence of simple methods to distinguish among the species in the clinical microbiology laboratory; thus, multiple members of the genus Trichosporon were previously categorized together under the name T. beigelii. With the use of modern molecular techniques, some mycologists have proposed a rearrangement of the genus [1-3]. The proposed names for the six main species associated with human infection are T. asahii, T. asteroides, T. cutaneum, T. inkin, T. mucoides, and T. ovoides [1,2]. The following disease associations have been observed:

T. asahii and T. mucoides are associated with systemic infection; T. asahii is more common than T. mucoides.

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Literature review current through: Nov 2017. | This topic last updated: Aug 06, 2017.
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