ISSN 2398-2977      

Malassezia spp





  • Kingdom: Fungi.
  • Phylum: Basidiomycota.
  • Subphylum: Ustilaginomycotina.
  • Class: Exobasidiomycetes.
  • Order: Malasseziales.
  • Family: Malasseziaceae.
  • Genus: Malassezia.
  • Species: over 17 recognized species, including M. furfur, M. pachydermatis, M. sympodialis, M. globosa, M. obtusa, M. slooffiae, M. dermatis, M. japonica, M. nana, M. yamatoensis, M. caprae, M. equina, M. cuniculi, M. restricta, M. arunalokei, M. brasiliensis, M. psittaci. 

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Clinical Effects



  • The stratum corneum of human and animal skin.


  • Blastoconidia are produced by monopolar (or sympodial) budding.
  • Some species may produce pseudohyphae.


  • Yeasts live as commensals and opportunistic pathogens on the skin of the host.

Pathological effects

  • Malassezia overgrowth can cause dermatitis Malassezia dermatitis and otitis in different species, rarely systemic infection is reported.
  • Influencing factors: breed, age, gender, alterations in the cutaneous microenvironment (pH, humidity, air circulation, composition of the skin microbiome, presence of cerumen, sebum production, keratinization defects, hormonal changes).
  • Some hosts may develop hypersensitivity reactions to Malassezia spp antigens.
  • Immunocompromised patients may experience be at higher risk for Malassezia infection.

Other Host Effects

  • Both humoral and cell-mediated host responses occur.


Control via animal

  • Control of underlying factors.
  • Aeration, drying and cleaning of the affected area.
  • Otitis: abundant cerumen should be removed using cerumenolytic agents or mechanical removal in severe cases, ie ear flushing, if appropriate for the host species affected.

Control via chemotherapies

  • Topical and/or systemic antifungals.
  • Topicals: nystatin, natamycin, azoles, chlorhexidine combined with azoles.
  • Systemic: imidazoles.


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Further Reading


Refereed Papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Batra R, Boekhout T, Guého E et al (2005) Malassezia Baillon, emerging clinical yeasts. FEMS Yeast Res (12), 1101-1113 PubMed.
  • Cabañes F J, Hernández J J & Castellá G (2005) Molecular Analysis of Malassezia sympodialis-Related Strains from Domestic Animals. J Clin Microbiol 43 (1), 277-283 PubMed.
  • Cabañes F J, Theelen B, Castellá G & Boekhout T (2007) Two new lipi-dependent Malassezia species from domestic animals. FEMS Yeast Res (6), 1064-1076 PubMed.
  • Cabañes  FJ, Vega S & Castellá G (2011) Malassezia cuniculi sp. nov., a novel yeast species isolated from rabbit skin. Med Mycol 49 (1), 40-48 PubMed.
  • Castellá G, Hernández J J & Cabañes F J (2005) Genetic typing of Malassezia pachydermatis from different domestic animals. Vet Microbiol 108 (3-4), 291-296 PubMed.
  • Crespo M J, Abarca M L & Cabañes F J (2002) Occurrence of Malassezia spp. in horses and domestic ruminants. Mycoses 45 (8), 333-337 PubMed.
  • Duarte E R & Hamdan J S (2009) RAPD differentiation of Malassezia spp. from cattle, dogs and humans. Mycoses 53 (1), 48-56 PubMed.
  • Hibbett D S et al (2007) A higher-level phylogenetic classification of the Fungi. Mycol Res 111 (5), 509-547 PubMed.
  • Hirai A, Kano R, Makimura K et al (2004) Malassezia nana sp. nov., a novel lipi-dependent yeast species isolated from animals. Int J Syst Evol Microbiol 54 (2), 623-627 PubMed.
  • Honnavar P, Prasad G S, Ghosh A et al (2016) Malassezia arunalokei sp. nov., a Novel Yeast Species Isolated from Seborrheic Dermatitis Patients and Healthy Individuals from India. J Clin Microbiol 54 (7), 1826-1834 PubMed.
  • Nell A, James S A, Bond C J et al (2002) Identification and distribution of a novel Malassezia species yeast on normal equine skin. Vet Rec 150 (3), 395-398 PubMed.
  • Shokri H (2016) Occurrence and distribution of Malassezia species on skin and external ear canal of horses. Mycoses 59 (1), 28-33 PubMed.
  • Cabañes F J, Coutinho S D, Puig L et al (2016) New lipid-dependent Malassezia species from parrots. Rev Iberoam Micol 33 (2), 92-9 PubMed.

Other sources of information

  • Boekhout T, Guého E, Mayser P & Velegraki A (2010) Malassezia and the Skin. Springer, Germany.

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