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Basidiobolus Species

Basidiobolus is a causative agent of Entomophthoromycosis and Zygomycosis.

(Information from @ 2005)



Taxonomic Classifications

Kingdom: Fungi
Phylum: Zygomycota
Sub - Phylum: Zygomycotina
Class: Zygomycetes
Order: Entomophthorales
Family: Basidiobolaceae
Genus: Basidiobolus


Basidiobolus Mold Pictures

Picture of Basidiobolus microscopic photo from Doctor Fungus

(Image Courtesy of @ 2005)


Take note of the microscopic morphology of Basidiobolus ranarum showing globose, one-celled conidia that are forcibly discharged from a sporangiophore. The sporangiophore has a distinct swollen area just below the spore that actively participates in the discharge of the spore.



Basidiobolus colony morphology picture

(Image Courtesy of @ 2005)


Basidiobolus ranarum on Sabouraud's dextrose agar after 17 - day incubation at 26C showing a flat, yellowish-grey, glabrous, radially folded colony covered by a fine, powdery, white surface mycelium. Also note the formation of satellite colonies by germinating conidia ejected from the primary colony.



Basidiobolus infection from doctor fungus

(Image Courtesy of @ 2005)


Entomophthoromycosis caused by Basidiobolus ranarum showing ulcerated subcutaneous lesions on the abdomen of a young boy from Darwin.





Basidiobolus is a cosmopolitan fungus which is commonly isolated from the dung of amphibians and reptiles and as well as from plant debris or soil.  Cases of human infection are mostly from Africa, tropical Asia, and South America, despite its wide distribution.




Formerly the pathogenic Basidiobolus isolates have once been identified as separate species namely, Basidiobolus ranarum, Basidiobolus meristosporus, and Basidiobolus haptosporus.  However, due to recent antigen analysis result shows that all pathogenic Basidiobolus isolates only belong to one species, the Basidiobolus ranarum, based on the restriction analysis of their rDNA and isoenzyme banding.



Pathogenicity and Health Effects


Basidiobolus ranarum is the etiologic agent of a type of subcutaneous chronic zygomycosis which is characterized by its granulomatous nature and formation of hard, non ulcerating subcutaneous masses at limbs, chest, back, and buttocks and by thickening of the adjacent muscles as well.  This infection is termed as entomophthoromycosis basidiobolae.  Basidiobolus is considered as a true pathogen due to its ability to cause infections in immunocompromised patients.  However, Basidiobolus is emerging as an opportunistic pathogen as well based on recent data on immunocompromised patients with angio - invasive infections caused by Basidiobolus.  Other health effects in man due to Basidiobolus have also been reported such as gastrointestinal infections.  Not only can Basidiobolus cause infections in man but in animals as well.  Cases such as cutaneous lesions in amphibians, gastrointestinal lesions in dogs, and subcutaneous infection in horses have so far been reported.



Macroscopic Appearance


     Growth is moderately rapid with a colony diameter ranging from 1 to 3 centimeters;

      The colony is flat and thin, the texture is waxy, and the color is yellowish to grayish on the surface while pale or white on the reverse; and

      Satellite colonies are sometimes formed from the ejected germinated conidia.



Microscopic Appearance


      The hyphae are large ranging from 8 to 20 m in diameter and more or less septated;

      Zygospores, the sexual spores, are thick walled and smooth or have an undulating outer cell walls and with conjugation beaks which are the remnants of a copulatory tube;

      There are two types of Basidiobolus sporangiophores: One with inflated apices produces ejectible, unispored sporangioles which are also called ballistospores; the other one with adhesive apices produces passively liberated, unispored sporangioles; and

      The sporulation can be observed only in freshly isolated strains while it  ceases as the colony gets older or is sub cultured; Sporulation may be stimulated by using a special medium which contains glucosamine hydrochloride and casein hydrolysate.



Laboratory Precautions


Only general laboratory precautions are required, no special safety measures needed.




Based on the limited data obtained, flucytosine MICs are very high, while those of fluconazole, itraconazole, ketoconazole and miconazole are considerably low for Basidiobolus strains. 

Basidiobolus caused infections are difficult to treat.  As a treatment, systemic potassium iodide solution and trimethoprim sulfamethoxazole are usually referred.  In some cases, oral ketoconazole and fluconazole may be of help.  On the other hand, amphotericin B has almost no significant efficacy and surgery is not curative.


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The mycological information gathered and
organized in this extensive research on different
Pathogenic Molds was sourced out from the list of
informative websites and reference book below:

A Clinical Laboratory Handbook: Identifying Filamentous Fungi by St. Germain, Guy and R. Summerbell.



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