Did Someone Say Fungus?

Yes, Today, at this very moment, I am typing up something amazing for you to read. Not really… That was a bad joke… wanna hear a worse one?



Why did the Mushroom get invited to all the parties?



‘Cuz he’s a fungi! 



Get it?… Well down to business.


  • More than 70000 species = 300 are pathogens in human and animals
  • some are superficial, others are life threatening
  • Likes moist conditions
  • systemic forms have become a much more serious problem.

Types of Infection:

Superficial Mycoses 1

  • fungus grows on body surfaces
  • eg: Tinea vericolour and Epidermophyton

Cutaneous Mycoses 2

  • fungus grows on body surfaces
  • deeper than Superficial Mycoses
  • eg: Athlets foot – Tinea pedis, Ringworm – Tinea corporis, Jocks Itch – Tinea cruis

Subcutaneous Mycoses 3

  • deeper than Cutaneous and Superficial Mycoses
  • Chronic and localized infection of skin
  • nails and deeper layers of skin are involved
  • Systemic and deep Mycoses – involves internal organs, very strong.

Transmission via inhalation or toxins in food:


  • spreads person to person
  • animal to human


  • via skin penetration

Deep Mycoses

  • opportunistic on immune compromised people

Fungus Characteristics

  • Pathogen
  • Useful – yeast and mushrooms ( not to mention all this cool stuff : penicillin from a fungus,  beer and bread from yeast)

They are classified by:

  • the growth – multicellular or single cell
  • They type of infection they cause.

Multi cellular – Filamentous (Hyphae) Fungi; form mycelium (moulds) (Live in the environment: outside the body)

Single Cell – Yeast (Live inside the body in humans)


The Study of Fungi is called Mycology.

The study of fungal infections is called Mycoses

Fungus’s are split into two groups. Yeasts and Moulds

    • Now there are very few true fungi pathogens.
    • Eucaryotic  (Different to plants and animals)
    • Opportunistic
    • large range of fungi, from single cell yeast to multicellular 
    • they have no chlorophyll
    • they cant photosynthesize and have a cell wall
    • They also require an organic source of carbon for growth
    • Some fungi are part of the bodies normal flora – but some can cause infection of skin and hair.

All in all fungi play a important role in breaking down organic matter that cant be broken down by bacteria due to their weakness to extreme conditions, but they aren’t all good, they can cause a lot of loss in agriculture and cause a lot of problems for farmers and food spoilage . But again on the plus side, think of beer and all smell of bread… and penicillin, we couldn’t have that, cephalopsorin or cyclosporin without fungi.

They usually take up nutrients directly from host, for example off the skin, or in a Saprophytes case, feeding off dead woody plant materials.




  • Single cell
  • Oval In shape
  • Larger than bacteria
  • Contains various sub-cellular organelles
  • growth is A-Sexual (Budding)
  • Small outgrowth – which gradually extends and eventually separates

Dimophism > ability of fungi to grow in two separate forms, usually filamentous at room temp, but in the body they grow as yeast.

Did someone say Thrush?

Ewww. that’s not cool, should I say Candida albicans?

  • Candida albicans is responsible for thrush most commonly and Candida albicans is the most common candida.
  • It grows in the body at temp over 28 degrees celcious.
  • It often pops up when your immune system is down, or you have just taken a course of antibiotics. The normal flora that would usually stop Candida from popping up. Lets put it simply, Candida is opportunistic, it likes to get you when you are down.
  • The colony is white

Candida spp is found in:

  •  40%-80% of normal human beings – it can be commensal or pathogenic
  • Mouth
  • Skin
  • Gut
  • Vagina

Candida can cause:

  • Phenomena
  • Septicemia
  • Endocarditis in immune compromised hosts.


The treatment for candida 

Candida is tested/ diagnosed through the use of germ tubes. But because fungi takes so long to grow it can be harder to identify

Once diagnosed the treatment can be:

For Cutaneous mycose:

  • topical Nystain
  • Ketoconazon
  • Fluconazole (Usually for aids or immune compromised people)

For Systemic Infections (different locations on body):

  • Amehotericin B


  • Can grow lots of places
  • long filaments – called hyphae
  • Hyphae can grow by extending terminal cell at tip of filament
  • reproduction is via production of spores

Aspergillus spp

  • easily inhaled
  • a more common human pathogen
  • derives from decaying or dead organic matter
  • produces spores- easily inhailed- fungus ball forms – can be mistaken for TB in X-rays

Found in

  • Food
  • plant
  • air vents
  • soil
  • disinfectants

Patients will usually cough up fungus element. Aggressive tissue invasion, it affects mainly lungs (due to inhalation of spores), but it can invade any organs.


Culture :

  • takes 1-3 weeks for growth
  • variety of colours
  • species differentiation is based on spore formation; as well as colour and shape.

Diagnosis :

  • Specimen taken of sputum; lung biopsy

Treatment :

  • Amphetericin

*likes a more acid environment.


Harmful Effects of Fungi

Allergic Reaction:

  • Bronchopulmonary reaction as a result from repeated inhalation of mould spores
  • Farmer are at risk to Aspergillus spp


  • some fungus produce chemicals that are toxic
  • poisonous  effect of eating toadstools

symptoms :

  • nausea
  • diarrhea
  • damage to body
  • muscle spasms
  • death may occur

Aflatoxin – toxin form of Asperillus,

Flavus – grows on grains and peanuts < Carconagenic and Liver cancer.


is difficult to diagnose as it grows slowly

Symptoms aren’t definitive

Fungal infection is suspected if the Patient is immuno compromised


  • Drug Therapies – anti neoplastic, Steriods, Immunosuperessive drugs

Antibiotic Use

  • Over use will alter the normal flora = fungal overgrowth



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