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Identification of a new fungal species: Exophiala campbellii

Exophiala campbellii: a new fungal species

by Dr Elizabeth Johnson, Head of the Mycology Reference Laboratory, PHE Bristol

We recently undertook a study of Exophiala species contained within NCPF to see if we could distinguish between them using MALDI-ToF technology1. In order to supplement the NCPF strains we also included a variety of strains isolated from wet environments where this genus is often found, such as bathrooms, dishwashers and washing machine seals. In order to support and further extend the MALDI database we had to conduct molecular studies with a variety of primers. During this study we realised that within the NCPF collection were two strains of a previously undescribed species first isolated from cases of subcutaneous infection in 1981 and 1984.

We decided to name this newly recognised species Exophiala campbellii after our retired colleague Dr Colin Campbell who ably curated the NCPF for many years and was responsible for acquiring and accessioning many interesting strains, including these two. Colin is an expert microscopist and talented taxonomists of the old school which places a prominent reliance on phenotypic characteristics. He is also an excellent teacher and mentor and many individuals, including most of us in the PHE Mycology Reference Laboratory, have benefitted from his patient tutelage over the years.

Colin is also first author of the PHE manual on Identification of Pathogenic Fungi for which he provided all the careful line drawings2. This important aspect of his career was recognised by the International Society for Human and Animal Mycology (ISHAM) by an award for teaching and training in medical mycology.  Our studies of wet environments also turned up another new species found on shampoo bottles in a bathroom so it was designated Exophiala lavatrina referencing the Latin for bathroom.

Colin Campbell (pictured) was delighted to be recognised in this way although was some what amused that his tribute strain Exophiala campbellii appeared in the same paper as the one we named Exophiala lavatrina.


Both Exophiala campbellii and Exophiala lavatrina will be available shortly on request:




  1. Borman et al. 2017 J. Clin. Micro.55 (4) 1162-1176
  2. Campbell, C., Johnson, E., & Warnock, D. (2013). Identification of pathogenic fungi. Chichester, West Sussex: Wiley-Blackwell.
January 2020