Environmental characteristics and taxonomy of microscopic fungi isolated from washing machines

Zsófia Tischner, László Kredics, Tamás Marik, Krisztina Vörös, Balázs Kriszt, Balázs Péter, Donát Magyar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)


Washing machines (WMs) are convenient places for fungal colonization. This study is focused on fungal diversity of WMs, and investigates relationships between habits of WM users and colonising species. Housekeeping conditions and habits were assessed in Hungary with a questionnaire. Several fungal species were identified by microscopy and sequence analysis of diagnostic loci. Based on the results, 32 % of the sampled WMs were highly polluted with various species of fungi. Forty six percent of them were colonised also by opportunistically human pathogenic species. In total, 32 yeast and 39 filamentous fungal strains were isolated. Growth tests were conducted with five selected taxa (Cutaneotrichosporon dermatis, Cystobasidium slooffiae, Meyerozyma guilliermondii, Candida parapsilosis and the Fusarium oxysporum species complex (FOSC)) to ascertain their tolerance ranges. None of the examined isolates were able to grow >50 °C, 4.10 < pH < 10.88. FOSC could grow at high salinity. More species were detected in WMs operated in rooms without heating systems (p = 0.0025). The number of species was higher in WMs located in the kitchen than the ones kept in bathroom or in other rooms (p = 0.0205). WMs may serve as a reservoir of pathogenic fungi, the presence of which may depend on the usage of these devices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)650-659
Number of pages10
JournalFungal Biology
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2019


  • Building-related illnesses
  • Extremotolerant
  • Household appliances
  • Human pathogenic
  • Hygiene
  • Microfungi

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Genetics
  • Infectious Diseases

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