Collection MiVET - Parasitology section
The laboratory of Mycology of the Department of Veterinary Sciences of Turin (DVS) has worked for many years in the field of laboratory diagnosis of fungal infections of animals. The laboratory is also involved in academic teaching activities and research projects. In time these activities have allowed isolating hundreds of fungal isolates (filamentous fungi and yeasts) from a series of animal hosts, prevalently domestic (cats, dogs, cows, horses, guinea pigs etc.), but also wild (foxes, marmots, penguins etc.). Occasionally, fungi were obtained from human samples, in case of episodes regarding zoonotic diseases, and from the environment of life of the animals under study. Fungi, characterized on morphological and genetic basis, were involved in variable clinical forms, from superficial to multi-organic infections. Isolates included various dermatophyte species (e.g. Microsporum canis, Trichophyton mentagrophytes, Trichophyton benhamiae, Microsporum gypseum, Trichophyton bullosum), molds (e.g. Aspergillus fumigatus, Aspergillus udagawae, Phialosimplex caninus) and yeasts (e.g. Malassezia pachydermatis). The characterization was in some cases conducted up to strain level, for example for M. canis with the use of microsatellite markers. The possible presence of resistance phenomena in the fungi infecting animals is another feature that is evaluated, thanks to the use of in vitro susceptibility tests. In time, there has been an increasing awareness of the importance of preserving the fungi isolated during the activity of the laboratory. For this reason, the laboratory started working to provide itself with procedures suitable for a proper preservation of fungal isolates, participating to the creation of the Turin University Culture Collection (TUCC), which was founded through the cooperation and the contribution of four departments belonging to the University of Turin, following the need to share and manage in a proper way different research collections scattered in the City of Turin. With the participation to this project, the laboratory of Mycology of the DVS aims to optimize the management (laboratory procedures, legal aspects to comply with national and international rules regarding access, distribution and exploitation of genetic resources etc.) of the fungal collection of animal provenance, ensuring a wider accessibility to resources and services (diagnosis of fungal diseases, fungal identification, characterization of biological properties of fungi agents of infection in animals and humans etc.) for academia, industry and other potentially interested institutions.