Effect of light exposure on growth rate of veterinary clinical dermatophyte isolates

Olivia E. Elwart, Jason B. Pieper, Soon Hwan Oh, Travis E. Wilcoxen, Lois L. Hoyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Veterinary textbooks and literature suggest that exposure to light is inhibitory to growth of clinical dermatophyte isolates. Hypothesis/objectives: We hypothesized that this idea was derived from experiments that examined the effect of high doses of ultraviolet and visible light exposure on dermatophyte growth, and that exposure to typical room lighting would not adversely affect dermatophyte growth rate. Methods and materials: Isolates of common veterinary dermatophytes (three each of Microsporum canis, Nannizia gypsea and Trichophyton benhamiae) were exposed to typical fluorescent room lighting, incubated in a closed drawer, or exposed at close range to fluorescent wide-spectrum light. Dermatophytes were grown on Sabouraud Dextrose Agar (SAB) and Dermatophyte Test Medium (DTM). Colony diameter was measured and growth rate (expressed as colony diameter increase mm/day) calculated at the linear portion of the culture growth curve. Statistical analyses compared growth rates across the various incubation conditions and among dermatophyte isolates. Results: There was little difference in growth rate between cultures incubated under typical fluorescent room lighting and those placed in the dark. Exposure to the close-range light increased growth rate as a consequence of the elevated incubation temperature created by the lamp. Significant differences in growth rate were noted among strains of the same dermatophyte species. Dermatophytes grew more rapidly on SAB than DTM agar. Conclusions and clinical relevance: Exposure to typical lighting conditions in a clinical environment does not inhibit growth of dermatophyte colonies. Veterinary clinicians may conduct routine dermatophyte cultures without incubating them in the dark.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)234-e61
JournalVeterinary dermatology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Veterinary


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