The molecular detection for Malassezia species is used for the immediate, with high specificity and sensitivity laboratory diagnosis of the fungus (yeast) in various biological materials. Molecular testing for Malassezia species is included in the 14 different species of Yeast-like Fungi, Molecular Detection MycoScreen™.
Fungi of the Malassezia genus (formerly known as Pityrosporum) are components of the normal microflora of human skin but can also cause superficial skin infections or invasive lesions under certain conditions. The etiological role of Malassezia spp. has been proven in tinea versicolor, seborrheic dermatitis, atopic dermatitis, folliculitis, psoriasis, and other skin diseases. Also, Malassezia species can cause fungemia and invasive lesions of the lungs and heart. There were isolated cases of thrombophlebitis, sinusitis, otitis, meningitis, septic arthritis, and soft tissue abscesses associated with Malassezia spp. Significant factors in the pathogenicity of Malassezia spp. are their lipophilicity and the ability to form a biofilm. This peculiarity plays a significant role in the development of antimycotic resistance.
Malassezia spp. are classified as difficult-to-culture microorganisms, which greatly complicates their study and diagnostics. The appropriate treatment depends on the pathogen species and its amount. At the same time, early therapy can significantly increase the efficiency of treatment.
The Malassezia genus includes 22 species.
Identification of Malassezia on the skin has been aided by the application of molecular or DNA-based techniques. These investigations show that the Malassezia species causing most skin diseases in humans, including the most common cause of dandruff and seborrhoeic dermatitis, is M. globose (though M. restricta is also involved). The skin rash of tinea versicolor (pityriasis versicolor) is also due to infection by species of this fungus (M. furfur).
As the fungus requires fat to grow, it is most common in areas with many sebaceous glands: on the scalp, face, and upper part of the body. When the fungus grows too rapidly, the natural renewal of cells is disturbed, and dandruff appears with itching (a similar process may also occur with other fungi or bacteria).