Environmental distribution of Cryptococcus species and some other yeast-like fungi in India

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A study of environmental distribution revealed the occurrence of Cryptococcus neoformans and C. gattii in 9% and 3%, respectively, of 611 samples investigated. C. neoformans showed the highest isolation frequency from tree trunk hollows in Delhi (31%), whereas C. gattii occurred in 12% of the samples in Delhi and 5% in Rajasthan. In addition, Cryptococcus laurentii (=Papiliotrema laurentii), C. rajasthanensis (=Papiliotrema rajasthanensis), C. podzolicus (=Saitozyma podzolica) and C. flavescens (=Papiliotrema flavescens) occurred in 0.5% each. The recovery of C. flavescens and C. podzolicus was new findings for India. One more noteworthy finding was isolation of a new yeast, recently classified as Saitozyma cassiae sp. Novo. The previous strain of this yeast came from tree bark debris in South India. Our isolates came from decayed wood inside a trunk hollow of an Acacia tree in, Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary, Rajasthan. The isolations of novel strains of Cutaneotrichosporon moniliiforme from decayed wood of a Pinus tree was another significant finding. Phenotypically, they differed from T. moniliforme by being encapsulated cells, had melanin-like pigment production and were unable to assimilate d-manitol and d-melezitose. AFLP analysis showed a distinctive banding profile vis-a-vis the reference strains of T. moniliiforme and Cryptotrichosporon anacardii.

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