Biotyping of Candida albicans and Other Fungi by Yeast Killer Toxins Sensitivity

Intraspecific differentiation of pathogenic microorganisms is a major need in epidemiological studies concerning the source and spread of infections. This requirement is paramount for those etiologic agents of infectious diseases, which are mainly grouped into one species within the genus, such as Candida albicans. Ideally, laboratory methods for biotyping purposes should be sensitive, reproducible, easy, and economical to perform. In addition, the methods should be flexible in their application to taxonomically unrelated pathogens. We have shown that the toxins produced by a selected panel of killer yeasts, each characterized by a wide spectrum of antimicrobial activity, may be used to discriminate strains belonging to the species of the genus Candida and to other species of eukaryotic and prokaryotic pathogenic microorganisms. The “yeast killer system,” which may be sharply increased in sensitivity by addition of further standardized killer yeasts, has proven to be of value in the resolution of many cases of clinical and nosocomial fungal infections. Owing to its reliability, economy, and versatility, this phenotypic system can be used as an alternative biotyping method in laboratories lacking the financial and training resources necessary to perform more sophisticated and expensive molecular approaches.

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