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School of Molecular & Biomedical Science
The University of Adelaide
AUSTRALIA 5005

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Dr David Ellis
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Conidiobolus coronatus

Synonym: Entomophthora coronata

The species of the genus Conidiobolus produce characteristic multinucleate primary and secondary (replicative) conidia on top of unbranched conidiophores. Each subspherical conidium is discharged as a result of the pressure developed within the conidium, and each bears a more or less prominent papilla after discharge (King 1983). The genus contains 27 species, however C. coronatus and C. incongruus are the only species that are known to cause human disease, although C. lamprauges has also been reported once from a horse (Humber, Brown and Kornegay, 1989).

Colonies of C. coronatus grow rapidly and are flat, cream-coloured, glabrous becoming radially folded and covered by a fine, powdery, white surface mycelium and conidiophores. The lid of the petri dish soon becomes covered with conidia, which are forcibly discharged by the conidiophores. The colour of the colony may become tan to brown with age. Conidiophores are simple forming solitary, terminal conidia which are spherical, 10 to 25 µm in diameter, single-celled and have a prominent papilla. Conidia may also produce hair-like appendages, called villae. Conidia germinate to produce either, (1) single or multiple hyphal tubes that may also become conidiophores which bear secondary conidia, or (2) replicate by producing multiple short conidiophores, each bearing a small secondary conidium. RG-2 organism.

Culture of Conidiobolus coronatus
Culture of Conidiobolus coronatus.

Spherical conidia with hair-like appendages Spherical conidia with hair-like appendages
Spherical conidia with hair-like appendages (villae) and prominent papillae characteristic of Conidiobolus coronatus.

Clinical significance:

Conidiobolus coronatus is commonly present in soil and decaying leaves. It has a world-wide distribution especially tropical rain forests of Africa. Human infections are usually restricted to the rhinofacial area. However, there are occasional reports of dissemination to other sites. All human infections have been confined to the tropics.

Mycosis: Zygomycosis

Further reading:

Rippon, J.W. 1988. Medical Mycology. 3rd Edition. W.B. Saunders Co., Philadelphia, USA.