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Alternaria

A ubiquitous genus containing common saprophytes in soil and air, and plant pathogens. A. infectoria is the most common clinical species (Pastor and Guarro, 2008). Although usually seen as saprophytic contaminants, Alternaria species in particular A. alternata and A. infectoria are recognised causative agents of subcutaneous phaeohyphomycosis and mycotic keratitis. They are a rare cause of onychomycosis, usually following trauma to the nail.

RG-1 organisms.

Morphological Description: 
Colonies are fast growing, black to olivaceous-black or greyish, and are suede-like to floccose. Microscopically, branched acropetal chains (blastocatenate) of multicellular conidia (dictyoconidia) are produced sympodially from simple, sometimes branched, short or elongate conidiophores. Conidia are obclavate, obpyriform, sometimes ovoid or ellipsoidal, often with a short conical or cylindrical beak, pale brown, smooth-walled or verrucose. Temperature: optimum 25-28C; maximum 31-32C.

Antifungal Susceptibility: Alternaria spp. (Australian National data); MIC µg/mL
No <0.016 0.03 0.06 0.125 0.25 0.5 1 2 4 >8
AmB 10 3 1 4 2
VORI 10 1 3 5 1
POSA 9 2 1 5 1
ITRA 10 1 1 2 5 1

References: 
Simmons (1967, 2007), Ellis (1971), Domsch et al. (2007), Samson et al. (1995), de Hoog et al. (2000, 2015), Pryor and Gilbertson (2000), de Hoog and Horre (2002), Pastor and Guarro (2008), Woudenberg et al. (2013).

School of Biological Sciences
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THE UNIVERSITY OF ADELAIDE
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Dr David Ellis
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