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My Dishwasher Is Trying to Kill Me: Extreme Conditions Suit Pathogenic Fungus

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A potentially pathogenic fungus has found a home living in extreme conditions in some of the most common household appliances, researchers have found. A new paper published in the British Mycological Society journal, Fungal Biology, published by Elsevier, shows that these sites make perfect habitats for extremotolerant fungi (which includes black yeasts). Some of these are potentially dangerous to human health.

Modern living comes with an increasing need for electrical household equipment such as dishwashers, washing machines and coffee machines. A characteristic of these appliances is a moist and hot environment. In the case of dishwashers, high temperatures between 60º to 80ºC are intermittently produced and aggressive detergents and high concentrations of salt are used in each washing cycle.

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  1. Now that both Exophiala dermatitidis and E. phaeomuriformis has been confirmed to be opportunistic pathogens capable of causing dangerous infection in humans; effort should be geared towards eliminating them in dishwashers. This can be achieved by the development and use of chemotherapeutic agents that are particularly toxic to these pathogens. These chemotherapeutic agents can be included in formulations or as constituents of soap or detergents used in dishwashers and other washing machines likely prone to harbouring these pathogens.

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