Colonies are moderately fast growing, flat, suede-like to powdery, initially white but becoming rosy, pink or orange with age. The conidiophores are indistinguishable from the vegetative hyphae until the first conidium is produced. They are erect, unbranched, often septate near the base, more or less rough-walled, bearing basipetal zig-zag (alternating) chains of conidia at the apex. Note the conidiophore is progressively shortened with the formation of each conidium i.e. retrogressive conidial development. Conidia are two celled (didymoconidia), ellipsoidal to pyriform, with an obliquely truncate basal scar, hyaline, smooth to delicately roughened and thick-walled.
Conidiophores of T. roseum demonstrating retrogressive conidial development.
Trichothecium roseum should not be confused with Microsporum nanum. Colonies of the latter may be pinkish-buff in colour and also produce ovoid to pear-shaped, mostly 2-celled macroconidia with thin, verrucose walls. However, M. nanum usually produces a red-brown reverse pigment and the 2-celled macroconidia are sessile and formed singly, sometimes on stalks, on undifferentiated conidiophores which do not undergo further change or produce secondary conidia. Note conidia are not produced in basipetal chains as in T. roseum. Finally, M. nanum will perforate hair in vitro (use blond, pre-pubertal human hair in sterile distilled water).
Trichothecium roseum has a world-wide distribution and is often isolated from decaying plant substrates, soil, seeds of corn, and food-stuffs (especially flour products). It is occasionally isolated as a saprophyte in the clinical laboratory.
Domsch, K.H., W. Gams, and T.H. Anderson. 1980. Compendium of soil fungi. Volume 1. Academic Press, London, UK.
McGinnis, M.R. 1980. Laboratory handbook of medical mycology. Academic Press, London, UK.