Answer to Question #109726 in Microbiology for kylie

Question #109726
Discuss Candida albicans with emphasis on the structural characteristics leading to its pathogenicity
Expert's answer

Candida albicans is one of the organisms that exist as microflora in the human gastrointestinal tract, the mouth, and the vagina. Typically, Candida albicans does not cause any infections. However, when it overgrows, or the environmental conditions change, then C. albicans becomes pathogenic. As a result, it is called an opportunistic microorganism. It is the common cause of urogenital tract infection in humans.

Candida albicans can grow on bacteriological media such as blood agar and chocolate agar. When grown in these media, it presents with small and white colonies that are raised off the media surface. On the other hand, C. albicans can grow on fungal media such as Saboraud's dextrose agar and appear as white colonies with a smooth texture and large.

Several factors contribute to the increase of pathogenicity of Candida albicans. First, polymorphism of this microorganism has made it become more invasive and hence increased pathogenicity. Depending on the environment, such as low or high pH and presence of serum and carbon dioxide, Candida albicans will grow either as yeast or hyphae. Its ability to thrive in either fungal form makes it more lethal. Be it as it may, the hyphae form is the deadliest of the two. Besides, the pathogenicity of Candida albicans is contributed by its ability to form a biofilm effectively. A biofilm is an aggregate of cells. Biofilms play a critical role in drug resistance.

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