Previously unknown species of Aspergillus.

Author: 

Gautier M, Normand AC, Ranque S.
Clin Microbiol Infect. 2016 Aug;22(8):662-9.

Abstract: 

The use of multi-locus DNA sequence analysis has led to the description of previously unknown 'cryptic' Aspergillus species, whereas classical morphology-based identification of Aspergillus remains limited to the section or species-complex level. The current literature highlights two main features concerning these 'cryptic' Aspergillus species. First, the prevalence of such species in clinical samples is relatively high compared with emergent filamentous fungal taxa such as Mucorales, Scedosporium or Fusarium. Second, it is clearly important to identify these species in the clinical laboratory because of the high frequency of antifungal drug-resistant isolates of such Aspergillus species. Matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization-time of flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) has recently been shown to enable the identification of filamentous fungi with an accuracy similar to that of DNA sequence-based methods. As MALDI-TOF MS is well suited to the routine clinical laboratory workflow, it facilitates the identification of these 'cryptic' Aspergillus species at the routine mycology bench. The rapid establishment of enhanced filamentous fungi identification facilities will lead to a better understanding of the epidemiology and clinical importance of these emerging Aspergillus species. Based on routine MALDI-TOF MS-based identification results, we provide original insights into the key interpretation issues of a positive Aspergillus culture from a clinical sample. Which ubiquitous species that are frequently isolated from air samples are rarely involved in human invasive disease? Can both the species and the type of biological sample indicate Aspergillus carriage, colonization or infection in a patient? Highly accurate routine filamentous fungi identification is central to enhance the understanding of these previously unknown Aspergillus species, with a vital impact on further improved patient care.