Dermatophytes (the Greek for "skin plants") are a common label for a group of three types of fungus that cause skin, hair and nail disease in animals and humans. These anamorphic (asexual or imperfect fungi) genera are: Microsporum, Epidermophyton and Trichophyton. There are about 40 identified species in these three groups.

Dermatophytes get nutrients from keratinized material. These microorganisms colonize the keratin tissues and cause inflammation in the surrounding tissues. Depending on the individual's immunity dermatophyte invasions can range from mild to severe. Defective cell-mediated immunity predisposes the host to chronic or recurrent dermatophyte infections.

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Trichophyton rubrum (T-rubrum) dermatophyte Trichophyton tonsurans dermatophyte Trichophyton verrucosum dermatophytic Trichophyton mentagrophytes dermatophyte Dermatophytes colony Colony of Dermatophytes Dermatophyte colony Dermatophyte colony Microsporum canis Microsporum gypseum

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