Identification of Malassezia species as part of normal skin and ear canal microbiota in horses

Keywords: culture, ear canal, horses, identification, Malassezia, normal microbiota, PCR, skin, yeast


Background: The yeasts of the genus Malassezia are considered part of the normal skin microbiota in humans and animals. In horses, several species of the genus Malassezia have been reported in different areas of the skin and ear canal. Objective: Isolate, characterize and identify the different species belonging to the genus Malassezia isolated from the ear canal and skin of equine patients with no dermatological lesions that were referred to the large animal clinic of veterinary teaching hospital at the National University of Colombia. Methods: 22 horses were evaluated and sampled. Eighty-two samples were obtained by swabbing either the ear canals (left and right), skin areas of prepuce, mammary gland and inguinal region. The samples were examined by cytological evaluation and were cultured on modified Dixon’s agar and phenotypic and molecular identification were performed for yeast colonies. Results: Fourteen yeast isolates were obtained from the 82 samples. Biochemical identification determined that 50% (n=7) were Malassezia spp., 35.7% (n=5) were identified as Candida spp. and 14.3% (n=2) as Cryptococcus spp. Using molecular tests, the Malassezia species were M. slooffiae(28.6%) and M. nana (57.1%); only one isolate was classified as Trichosporo asahii. Conclusion: M. nana and M. slooffiae were identified as part of the normal ear canal and skin microbiota in the evaluated horses. The observed prevalence of Malassezia spp. was 18.2% (n=4/22) in this study sample.

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Author Biography

Rubiela Castañeda Salazar, Pontificia Universidad Javeriana

Departamento de Microbiología, Facultad de Ciencias, Unidad de Investigaciones Agropecuarias (UNIDIA) – Línea de Epidemiología y Salud Animal. Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, Bogotá, Colombia.

Original research articles