Some species in the polyphyletic fungal genus Acremonium are important opportunist pathogens. Determining the actual spectrum of species and their incidence in the clinical setting, however, has long been hampered because of the difficulties encountered in phenotypic species-level identification. The goal of this study was to re-identify a large number of clinical isolates morphologically and to confirm the identifications by comparing sequences of the internal transcribed spacer region of the rRNA gene of these isolates to those of type or reference strains of well-known Acremonium species. Of the 119 isolates referred to a United States reference laboratory under the name Acremonium, only 75 were identified morphologically as belonging to that genus. The remainder (44 isolates) were identified as belonging to other morphologically similar genera. The Acremonium clinical isolates were related to species of Hypocreales, Sordariales, and of an incertae sedis family of ascomycetes, Plectosphaerellaceae. A total of 50 of the 75 Acremonium isolates (67%) could be identified by molecular means, the prevalent species being Acremonium kiliense (15 isolates), A. sclerotigenum-A. egyptiacum (11 isolates), A. implicatum (7 isolates), A. persicinum (7 isolates), and A. atrogriseum (4 isolates). One of the most interesting findings of our study was that we identified several species among this large collection of clinical isolates that had not previously been reported from human infections, and we failed to confirm other Acremonium species, such as A. potronii, A. recifei, and A. strictum, that had been considered significant. The most common anatomic sites for Acremonium isolates were the respiratory tract (41.3%), nails (10.7%), and the eye (9.3%). Antifungal susceptibility testing demonstrated high MICs for all agents tested, except for terbinafine. Since numerous isolates could not be identified, we concluded that the list of opportunistic Acremonium species is far from be complete and that a considerable number of additional species will be discovered.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Microbiology (medical)