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Cladosporium Mold Species

The U.S. Government's Occupational Safety and Health Administration [OSHA] lists the following as the health effects of Cladospotium mold: Allergen, Irritant, Hypersensitivity pneumonitis, Dermatitis.

Taxonomic Classification

Kingdom: Fungi
Phylum: Ascomycota
Subphylum: Ascomycotina
Genus: Cladosporium

Culture of
Cladosporium cladosporioides

Conidiophores and conidia of
Cladosporium cladosporioides


Colonies are rather slow growing, mostly olivaceous-brown to blackish brown but also sometimes grey, buff or brown, suede-like to floccose, often becoming powdery due to the production of abundant conidia. Vegetative hyphae, conidiophores and conidia are equally pigmented. Conidiophores are more or less distinct from the vegetative hyphae, are erect, straight or flexuous, unbranched or branched only in the apical region, with geniculate sympodial elongation in some species. Conidia are 1- to 4-celled, smooth, verrucose or echinulate, with a distinct dark hilum and are produced in branched acropetal chains. The term blastocatenate is often used to describe chains of conidia where the youngest conidium is at the apical or distal end of the chain. Note, the conidia closest to the conidiophore and where the chains branch, are usually "shield-shaped". The presence of shield-shaped conidia, a distinct hilum, and chains of conidia that readily disarticulate, are diagnostic for the genus Cladosporium.

For identification, isolates are best grown on potato dextrose agar or 2% malt extract agar at 20-25C. Microscopic mounts are best made using a cellotape flag or slide culture preparation mounted in lactophenol cotton blue. A drop of alcohol is usually needed to detach the cellotape flag from the stick, and to act as a wetting agent.

For more cladosporium mold pictures, please visit or click on: Cladosporium Mold Picture


Description and Natural Habitats

Cladosporium is a dematiaceous (pigmented) mold widely distributed in air and rotten organic material and frequently isolated as a contaminant on foods. Some species are predominant in tropical and subtropical regions. Also, some Cladosporium spp. were isolated from fish and were associated with findings of infection.


The genus Cladosporium includes over 30 species. The most common ones include Cladosporium elatum, Cladosporium herbarum, Cladosporium sphaerospermum, and Cladosporium cladosporioides.

Pathogenicity and Clinical Significance

Cladosporium species are causative agents of skin lesions, keratitis, onychomycosis, sinusitis and pulmonary infections.

Macroscopic Features

The growth rate of Cladosporium colonies is moderate on potato dextrose agar at 25C and the texture is velvety to powdery. Similar to the other dematiaceous fungi, the color is olivaceous green to black from the front and black from the reverse. Most of the Cladosporium spp. do not grow at temperatures above 35C.

Microscopic Features

Cladosporium species produce septate brown hyphae, erect and pigmented conidiophores, and conidia. While the conidiophores of Cladosporium cladosporioides and Cladosporium sphaerospermum are not geniculate, those of Cladosporium herbarum have a geniculate appearance. In addition, conidiophores of Cladosporium herbarum bear terminal and intercalary swellings. Conidia of Cladosporium spp. in general are elliptical to cylindrical in shape, pale to dark brown in color and have dark hila. They occur in branching chains that readily disarticulate. Conidial wall is smooth or occasionally echinulate. Cladosporium cladosporioides produces unicellular conidia. On the other hand, those of Cladosporium herbarum are two-to four-celled. Cladosporium sphaerospermum produces elongate and septate shield cells which are also known as ramoconidia.

Laboratory Precautions

Cladosporium species should be handled with care in a biological safety cabinet.


Very limited data are available on susceptibility profiles of Cladosporium species.

The mycological information gathered and organized in this extensive research on different Pathogenic Molds was  sourced out from the list of informative websites below: | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | |

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