Diagnostic value of morphological, physiological and biochemical tests in distinguishing Trichophyton rubrum from Trichophyton mentagrophytes complex.
The two most frequently encountered dermatophyte etiologic agents of glabrous skin and nail dermatophytoses are Trichophyton rubrum and T. mentagrophytes. This study was aimed to discuss the efficacy of morphological, physiological and biochemical diagnostic tests commonly used in the identification of T. rubrum and members of the T. mentagrophytes complex. In this study, we evaluated; hydrolysis of urea in broth and on urea agar slants and Petri plates incubated at 22 degrees C, 28 degrees C and 37 degrees C, in vitro hair perforation (blond child, sheep and goat hair), pigment production on cornmeal dextrose agar (CMDA) and bromcresol purple-milk solids-glucose agar (BCP-MS-G), Tween opacity, sorbitol assimilation, and salt tolerance. Additionally, the production of micro- and macroconidia was investigated by using brain heart infusion agar (BHIA), Christensen's urea agar in Petri plates (UPA), CMDA, Lowenstein-Jensen agar (LJA), malt extract agar, oatmeal agar, Oxoid chromogenic Candida agar, and potato dextrose agar. All cultures were incubated at 28 degrees C, and conidial production was compared on days 5, 10 and 15. It was found that the urea hydrolysis test yielded more rapid and significant results when urea medium was prepared in Petri plates and incubated at 28 degrees C (P0.01). LJA supported the highest production of microconidia after 15 days (P0.001). Additionally, it was found that T. rubrum strains produced red pigment on CMDA (P0.01) and BCP-MS-G, while strains of the T. mentagrophytes species complex did not. A special algorithm containing the various test procedures employed in these studies is presented which was found to be useful in the differentiation of T. rubrum strains from T. mentagrophytes complex. Our results revealed that UPA, CMDA, BCP-MS-G, LJA, and BHIA may be used as common mycological agars in routine practice.