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The effects of the addition of different amino nitrogens on growth, morphology and secondary metabolism of Malassezia furfur were investigated. After primary culture on Dixon agar, M. furfur CBS 1878 was transferred into a fluid medium together with the nitrogen sources, glycine (Gly) or tryptophan (Trp), or a combination of both. Growth was measured by means of a direct cell counting method and pigment synthesis was photometrically assessed. Addition of glycine resulted in an exponential increase in biomass, but not in pigment production. Tryptophan as the sole nitrogen source caused distinct brown staining of the medium, without increasing biomass. Simultaneous equimolar addition of both amino acids resulted in an initial increase in biomass as a sign of preferential metabolism of glycine, followed by a growth plateau and pigment production which, caused by higher biomass, occurred more rapidly than after addition of tryptophan alone. The yeast-cell morphology changed from round to oval. Addition of glycine to the tryptophan-containing liquid culture stopped pigment formation with simultaneous growth induction. These in vitro on-off phenomena depending on the nitrogen source might be significant in the pathogenesis of pityriasis versicolor: hyperhidrosis followed by preferential consumption of individual nitrogen sources such as glycine with exponential growth and thereafter transamination of tryptophan and TRP-dependent pigment synthesis.