Get access

Molecular analysis of Malassezia species isolated from Israeli patients with pityriasis versicolor


  • Conflicts of interest: None.

Boaz Amichai, md
Department of Dermatology Meir Medical Center Kfar Saba Israel


Background  Pityriasis versicolor (PV) is a common superficial fungal infection of the skin caused by Malassezia species. The clinical significance of each of these species is not fully understood. M. furfur has long been identified as the causative agent of PV. Several recent studies suggest that M. globosa is most frequently associated with PV.

Objectives  The aim of this study was to examine the prevalence of Malassezia species in affected and unaffected skin in Israeli patients with PV using a polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based culture-independent method.

Methods  Samples were taken from affected skin of 75 patients with PV (35 females and 40 males, age range 18–65 years) who visited our outpatient clinic and from unaffected skin in 26 patients for direct microscopy and detection of Malassezia species using a PCR-based method.

Results  The major Malassezia species in PV was M. globosa, found in 97.3% (73 of 75) of samples from affected skin and 80.8% (21 of 26) samples of unaffected skin. M. restricta was associated with Mglobosa in 1.3% (one of 75) of patients. No cases of Mfurfur were detected in this study. There was no difference in the distribution of Malassezia species between affected and unaffected skin.

Conclusion  Based on the PCR test, we have shown that Mglobosa is probably most frequently associated with PV.