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Jun 13, 2018

Congress of the International Society for Human and Animal Mycology

Geographical and ethnic differences in Malassezia species distribution on healthy skin


Cheryl Leong;

Joleen Goh;

Antony Irudayaswamy;

Thomas Dawson






Objectives Malassezia spp. are lipid dependent yeasts which live as skin commensals. They have been implicated in skin conditions such as pityriasis versicolour and atopic dermatitis and can cause serious opportunistic infection in immunocompromised individuals. Of the nine species found on human hosts, five species (M. sympodialis, M. slooffiae, M. furfur, M. globosa, M. restricta) have been regularly isolated at varying frequencies. The factors accounting for these species distribution differences are unknown and could be due to differences in culture method, climate or other factors. Ethnic skin types vary in lipid content, hydration levels and skin barrier function which may affect the local skin mycobiome. In this study, we aimed to determine if skin ethnicity affects the species of Malassezia colonizing the skin of healthy individuals and if this may account for different species distributions observed worldwide. Methods Malassezia spp. were sampled from the skin of 40 healthy volunteers from 4 different ethnic backgrounds (Chinese, Malay, Indian and Caucasian) with equal gender distribution living in Singapore. This involved swabbing of the nasal sidewall with a saline wetted swab and culture on modified Leeming-Notman agar for 7 days at 32°C. Species identification of individual colonies was performed using molecular typing methods and ITS sequencing. Results The average healthy individual in our Singapore cohort had 2-3 species of Malassezia. M. sympodialis, M. dermatis, M. furfur, M. globosa and M. restricta were the most frequently cultured species respectively. Differences were observed in Malassezia species distribution when stratified by skin ethnicity, with each ethnic group being colonized by specific groups of Malassezia. The species composition within ea¬¬¬¬ch ethnic group was similar between males and females. Conclusion Variations in Malassezia species distribution on healthy skin were observed among different ethnic groups in Singapore. This suggests that skin ethnicity is a key underlying factor in the composition of the skin mycobiome, possible due to differential expression of lipid in different ethnic skin types. It is likely that Malassezia studies around the world reflect a species distribution representative of the ethnic background of their local populations. Characterizing the healthy skin mycobiome composition will be useful in defining the role of Malassezia in health and disease.

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© Copyright 2019 Morressier GmbH.
All rights reserved.