The mycology laboratory at TDSHS receives referred cultures of yeast, mold, and aerobic actinomycetes from other laboratories for identification. Identification of mycology cultures is based upon macroscopic and microscopic morphology and characteristics as well as reactions to a panel of biochemical tests. Identification of most molds relies heavily on microscopic morphology. Yeast identification relies on biochemical reactions as well as microscopic characteristics. Turnaround time for most referred cultures ranges from two weeks up to four weeks, depending upon the number of tests required for identification.
Aerobic actinomycete cultures are subcultured to a panel of biochemical tests that requires three weeks to result. All aerobic actinomycetes are analyzed by high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). The HPLC test on aerobic actinomycetes indicates whether an organism produces mycolic acids, such as Nocardia species. The HPLC is not species specific but is often useful as an aid to determine the correct genus of the organism.
The genetic probe test utilized for Mycobacterium species is also utilized for three systemic fungi. It is the same test described under Genetic Probes. The three systemic fungi identified by the genetic probe test are Coccidioides immitis, Histoplasma capsulatum and Blastomyces dermatitidis. Fungal cultures can be submitted for identification on solid media in tightly capped tubes. Shipping plated medium supporting growth of molds is highly discouraged.