As a leading company in the field of biological research and drug discovery, Creative Biolabs has gained a wealth of good reputation for successfully completed numerous challenges in antifungal drug discovery. Based on our advanced technology platform and experienced scientists, we are able to provide a series of antifungal drug discovery services including various fungal diseases and related fungi. Here, we describe a pathogenic fungus Trichophyton mentagrophytes that can cause dermatophytosis.


Trichophyton mentagrophytes (T. mentagrophytes) is a common dermatophyte that causes skin diseases in humans and other animals. It belongs to genus Trichophyton, family Arthrodermataceae, order Onygenales, class Eurotiomycetes, and phylum Ascomycota. T. mentagrophytes is a contagious fungus which primarily causes dermatophytosis such as tinea pedis, tinea unguium, tinea corporis, and tinea capitis. It distributes all over the world, especially in moist and carbon-rich environments.

Characteristics of T. mentagrophytes

T. mentagrophytes is a very variable fungus and many characteristics are not consistent when cultured in the different medium.

  • Colonies of T. mentagrophytes are generally characterized by flat, white to cream in color, with a powdery to the granular surface. Reverse pigmentation is usually a yellow-brown to reddish-brown color. Some cultures show central folding or develop raised central tufts or pleomorphic suede-like to downy areas.
  • The granular colony form typically has a powdery appearance due to numerous single-celled microconidia (spores) formed. Microconidia of T. mentagrophytes are hyaline, smooth-walled, spherical to subspherical in shape, and occasional pyriform to clavate or of irregular shape. They are clavate to fusiform, and thin- or thick-walled with 4-5 cells separated by parallel cross-walls, which are laterally directly grown on the hyphae or on short pedicels.

Colonies (left) and microscopic (right) structure of T. mentagrophytes. Fig.1 Colonies (left) and microscopic (right) structure of T. mentagrophytes.

Pathogenesis of T. mentagrophytes

Actually, T. mentagrophytes is a complex that composed of at least five different variants: T. mentagrophytes var interdigitale, T. mentagrophytes var nodulare, are anthropophilic, and T. mentagrophytes var mentagrophytes, T. mentagrophytes var quinckeanum and T. mentagrophytes var erinacei are zoophilic dermatophytes. During morpho-physiological reduction and differentiation, T. mentagrophytes can assimilate phosphorus, potassium, sodium, and calcium and utilized glucose and amine nitrogen. Different from other dermatophytes, plenty of mitochondria and granules are observed in T. mentagrophytes.

T. mentagrophytes complex, a keratinolytic fungus, can secrete a variety of proteases that enable it to attack different keratinous substrates. It has a preference for methionine as nitrogen sources and can’t utilize the trisaccharide melezitose probably due to lack of specific enzymes. It has been confirmed that five different keratinolytic enzymes have been isolated from ten strains of T. mentagrophytes, which is considered to play a role in the pathogenesis of infections in both humans and animals.

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