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Harmful Fungi Found to Reside in Dishwasher Seals

Provide appropriate conditions of temperature and moisture for harmful fungal growth

MONDAY, June 27 (HealthDay News) -- Dishwashers, with high temperatures, moisture, and alkaline pH values, provide a habitat for pathogenic fungi, according to a study published online May 7 in Fungal Biology.

Polona Zalar, from the University of Ljubljana in Slovenia, and colleagues investigated the occurrence of fungal flora in dishwashers. Samples were extracted from the rubber seals on the folding door of 189 dishwashers from private homes in 101 towns and communities on six continents. Samples were isolated and incubated at 37 degrees Celsius.

The investigators found that black yeasts Exophiala dermatitidis and Exophiala phaeomuriformis were most persistently and frequently isolated in the dishwasher samples, while species belonging to genera Aspergillus, Candida, Magnusiomyces, Fusarium, Penicillium, and Rhodotorula were found occasionally. Among the dishwashers assessed, 62 percent were found positive for fungi, and 56 percent of these hosted Exophiala.

"We have shown that dishwashers are among household machineries that provide a specific habitat for polyextremotolerant, potentially human pathogenic fungi," the authors write.

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