Fungal Infections

Species name/ common name:

Rhodotorula mucilaginosa (old name Rhodotorula rubra)

Natural habitat

Terrestrial and aquatic, including marine habitats. Frequently isolated from human beings. Also found in pillows.


Worldwide distribution


Unknown but in general terms is an infrequent agent of fungal infections in humans.


Fungemia, sepsis, endophthalmitis, catheter infections, peritonitis, meningitis mainly in immunocompromised patients. Produces several allergens and potentially involved in allergic disease.

Culture peculiarities

Colonies growing in culture media are pink to coral red, glistening or dull, mucous, smooth or rough. Microscopy - budding cells. In some cases, rudimentary pseudomycelium can be observed.

Antifungal resistance (intrinsic and acquired)

Amphotericin B and flucytosine are the most active agents against R. mucilaginosa. All strains are resistant to fluconazole. Cross resistance to other azole drugs is not the rule but more than 60% of the strains show resistance to itraconazole, voriconazole and posaconazole. Echinocandins are inactive against this yeast species.

Biosafety level 1

This yeast does not need any special management precautions in the laboratory

Industrial use

Carotenoid production for  the food industry


Rhodotorula mucilaginosa

Culture appearance of Rhodotorula mucilaginosa

Urease test of Rhodotorula mucilaginosa
Urease test of Rhodotorula mucilaginosa. Right tube is a positive reaction
characteristic of this yeast. Left tube is a negative control.

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