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Mould Identification: A Virtual Self Assessment

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Unknown 69 = Aspergillus niger

Case History
A 51-year old, immunocompromised man presented with chronic unilateral otomycosis who had been unresponsive to a variety of treatment regimens. The patient presented with intermittent otalgia and otorrhea and with a perforation of his left tympanic membrane.  Debris showed the presence of septate hyphae and the culture below was grown.
Direct Microscopy

Methenamine silver stained tissue section showing septate hyphae consistent with Aspergillus.

Colonies consist of a compact white or yellow basal felt covered by a dense layer of dark-brown to black conidial heads.

Conidial heads are large (up to 3 mm x 15-20 um in diameter), globose, dark brown, becoming radiate and tending to split into several loose columns with age. Conidiophores are smooth-walled, hyaline or turning dark towards the vesicle. Conidial heads are biseriate with the phialides borne on brown, often septate metulae. Conidia are globose to subglobose (3.5-5.0 um in diameter), dark brown to black and rough-walled. RG-1 organism.
Comment: Aspergillus niger is one of the most common and easily identifiable species of the genus Aspergillus, with its white to yellow mat later bearing black conidia. This is the third most common species associated with invasive pulmonary aspergillosis. It is also often a causative agent of aspergilloma and is the most frequently encountered agent of otomycosis. A. niger may also be a common laboratory contaminant.

About Aspergillus Back to Virtual Assessment

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Aspergillus deflectus
Aspergillus niger
Aspergillus sydowii

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School of Biological Sciences



Dr David Ellis