Hortaea werneckii isolated from silicone scuba diving equipment in Spain

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During a survey of black yeasts of marine origin, some isolates of Hortaea werneckii were recovered from scuba diving equipment, such as silicone masks and snorkel mouthpieces, which had been kept under poor storage conditions. These yeasts were unambiguously identified by phenotypic and genotypic methods. Phylogenetic analysis of both the D1/D2 regions of 26S rRNA gene and ITS-5.8S rRNA gene sequences showed three distinct genetic types. This species is the agent of tinea nigra which is a rarely diagnosed superficial mycosis in Europe. In fact this mycosis is considered an imported fungal infection being much more prevalent in warm, humid parts of the world such as the Central and South Americas, Africa, and Asia. Although H. werneckii has been found in hypersaline environments in Europe, this is the first instance of the isolation of this halotolerant species from scuba diving equipment made with silicone rubber which is used in close contact with human skin and mucous membranes. The occurrence of this fungus in Spain is also an unexpected finding because cases of tinea nigra in this country are practically not seen. © 2012 ISHAM.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)852-857
Number of pages6
JournalMedical Mycology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2012


  • Hortaea werneckii
  • Polyethylene plastic
  • Scuba diving
  • Silicone rubber
  • Tinea nigra


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