Current and Effective Diagnostic Techniques in Identifying Medically Important Fungi: Perspective of a Developing World
This analysis is aimed at reviewing the latest and successful fungi identification techniques as opposed to the error-prone conventional approaches that are solely focused on the developed world and recommending measures to improve fungi identification. There are more than 250,000 species of fungi, with around 150 of those species capable of causing human diseases. Human disease-causing organisms are considered medically important fungi and consist of six categories: zygomycetes, hyalohyphomyces, dematiaceous fungi, dermatophytes, dimorphic fungi, and yeasts. As the result borders on life or death, accurate and rapid detection of pathogenic fungi is crucial for disease care. The use of stains, macroscopic and microscopic morphology, biochemical tests, histopathology and antibody detection are standard techniques in the identification of medically significant fungi, but they are fraught with limitations that have necessitated the development of new and more successful techniques that overcome the limitations of traditional methods. Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption/Ionization-Time of Flight Mass Spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS), Loop Controlled Isothermal Amplification (LAMP) and Rolling Circle Amplification (RCA) methods are three of these powerful techniques currently in use in the developed science world. Identifying medically essential fungi in order to intervene in the treatment of their subsequent infections is still a frustrating and rudimentary task for the developing world. The procedures, equipment and trained workers are all on the “to do list,” while the actual perpetrators of fungal diseases remain unidentified or misidentified at best. In order to have a progressive impact on the battle against medically essential fungi, the developing world needs to actively step away from sole reliance on conventional methods of identifying fungi by being creative and aligning itself with modern and efficient methods of identification.
Department of Microbiology, Federal University of Lafia, Nasarawa State, Nigeria.
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