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Zygomycetes: General Considerations

Zygomycetes: Direct Examination

rhizopus invading lung

FIG. 1. This is a hematoxylin and eosin stained section of lung. The pleural surface is effaced by fungal hyphae. In this photomicrograph the pleural space on the left contains blood and inflammatory cells; thickened alveoli are on the right.

FIG. 2. This is a high power view of hyphae. Note the breadth of the hyphae and lack of septae in this photomicrograph.

	generally aseptate hyphae
rare hyphae with septum

FIG. 3. Septae may rarely be present both in tissue sections (as seen here) and in culture, particularly as cultures age.

Common Zygomycetes:

The different genera may be distinguished based on the size and shape of the sporangia, the presence or absence of rhizoids and their location, presence or absence of branched sporangiophores, shape of the columella, and the shape of the apophysis.



Rhizopus in slide culture

FIG. 1. Rhizopus in slide culture


Rhizomucor in slide culture

FIG. 1. Rhizomucor in slide culture. Note the single, rudimentary rhizoid arising nearby--but not adjacent to--the sporangiophore.



FIG. 1. Low power photomicrograph of Absidia in slide culture. Internodal rhizoids are not apparent here.

Absidia in slide culture
Absidia in slide culture

FIG. 2. Absidia in slide culture. A cup-shaped columella (long arrow) supports a spherical sporangium (short arrow). Note also the pale tan sporangiospores (arrowhead)recently released from a sporangium.


FIG. 1. High power photomicrograph of Cunninghamella in slide culture. The swollen vesicle is located at the end of a sporangium and is covered by denticles and attached, round sporangiolum (arrowhead).

	 in slide culture



FIG. 1. High power photomicrograph of Saksenaea from water culture. This specimen was cultured from abdominal wounds received by a man in a motorcycle accident; radical debridement was required in an attempt to control the infection. The characteristic sporangiophore dominates this image, with darkening rhizoid near the base of the sporangiophore, at the upper left.

	 from water culture

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Copyright © 2001, William McDonald, M.D.
Revised: 30 April 2003