Preliminary Study to identify Filamentous Fungi in Sands of Three Beaches of the Caribbean
The Caribbean has several white sand beaches visited by many tourists, especially during the summer. The beaches of Copacabana in Barbados Bridgetown, Flamenco Beach in Culebra Puerto Rico, and Maho Beach in St. Maarten were studied. The sand samples were taken in June 2016. The objective of the study was to know the diversity and quantity of filamentous fungi in the dry sand of the beaches and to determine if the fungi found are pathogenic to animals and humans. One gram of each beach sample was taken in triplicate and spread on a plate with rose bengal agar. The samples were incubated for 7 to 14 days at 25°C. The colonies were counted, then isolated in tubes with potato dextrose agar. Three genus of fungi were found; Aspergillus, Penicillium, and Rhizopus. The Aspergillus species resulted in higher identifications in the three beaches included in this preliminary study. The growth of filamentous fungi in the samples ranged from 6 CFU / g to 17 CFU / g. The species were: A. niger, A. versicolor, A. flavus, A. oryzae, A. fumigatus, R. oligosporus, R. stolonifer, A. tamarii and P. wasksmanii. Most of the identified filamentous fungi are pathogenic to humans and animals. Some of the species can cause diseases such as asthma, infections in the eyes, skin, and nails.
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