Diversity And Keratinase Activity Of Dermatophytes And Other Mycokeratinophiles Inhabiting The Feathers Of Some Migratory Birds Visiting Gharana Wetland (India)

Research Article
Shifali Sharma and Geeta Sumbali
Keratinophilic fungi, dermatophytes, migratory birds, feathers, keratin, Gharana wetland.

Investigations were undertaken to study the diversity of dermatophytes and other keratinophilic fungi inhabiting the feathers of two migratory birds viz., bar-headed geese and common teal, which visit Gharana wetland situated in Jammu province of J&K state (India). This group of fungal organisms is responsible for causing human and animal mycoses and may get dispersed to distant places through these birds while taking long flights. In view of this, an attempt was made to isolate and identify this unique group of mycokeratinophiles. A total of 33 keratinophilic fungal species belonging to 17 genera were recovered from the feathers of bar headed geese and common teal. These included 2 species of dermatophytes and 31 species of non-dermatophytes. The dermatophytes consisted of two species of Microsporum (M. gypseum and M. canis), whereas the non- dermatophytes included 5 species each of Chrysosporium and Aspergillus, 4 species of Penicillium, 2 species each of Fusarium, Curvularia, Mucor, Sarocladium and 1 species each of Acremonium, Purpureocillium, Alternaria, Cladosporium, Histoplasma, Sagenomella, Rhizopus, Syncephalastrum and Didymella. During the investigation period, maximum number of keratinophilic fungal species (33) were recovered from the feathers of barheaded geese, whereas only 21 species were recovered from that of common teal. Keratinophilic fungal species commonly found on the feathers of both the birds species included Microsporum gypseum, M. canis, Chrysosporium indicum, C. keratinophilum, C. queenslandicum, Aspergillus flavus, A. fumigatus, A. versicolor, A. candidus, Acremonium fusidioides, Fusarium verticillioides, Purpureocillium lilacinum, Penicillium purpurogenum, Alternaria alternata, Curvularia lunata, C. pallescens, Histoplasma capsulatum, Mucor luteus, Sarocladium strictum, S. kiliense and Syncephalastrum racemosum. All the recovered mycokeratinophiles showed keratinase activity. However, the dermatophytes possessed highest keratinase activity, whereas among the nondermatophytes, Chrysosporium species showed maximum activity. In view of these observations, it can be concluded that most of the keratinophiles recovered from the feathers of migratory birds have the potential of causing mycosis.