Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Performance comparison of phenotypic and molecular methods for detection and differentiation of Candida albicans and Candida dubliniensis

Suhail Ahmad*, Ziauddin Khan, Mohammad Asadzadeh, Ajmal Theyyathel and Rachel Chandy

Author Affiliations

Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Medicine, Kuwait University, P. O. Box 24923, Safat, 13110, Kuwait

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BMC Infectious Diseases 2012, 12:230  doi:10.1186/1471-2334-12-230

Published: 25 September 2012



Candida albicans is the most pathogenic Candida species but shares many phenotypic features with Candida dubliniensis and may, therefore, be misidentified in clinical microbiology laboratories. Candidemia cases due to C. dubliniensis are increasingly being reported in recent years. Accurate identification is warranted since mortality rates are highest for C. albicans infections, however, C. dubliniensis has the propensity to develop resistance against azoles more easily. We developed a duplex PCR assay for rapid detection and differentiation of C. albicans from C. dubliniensis for resource-poor settings equipped with basic PCR technology and compared its performance with three phenotypic methods.


Duplex PCR was performed on 122 germ tube positive and 12 germ tube negative isolates of Candida species previously identified by assimilation profiles on Vitek 2 ID-YST system. Typical morphologic characteristics on simplified sunflower seed agar (SSA), and reaction with a commercial (Bichro-Dubli) latex agglutination test were also performed. The assay was further applied on 239 clinical yeast and yeast-like fungi and results were confirmed by DNA sequencing of internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region of rDNA.


The results of duplex PCR assay for 122 germ tube positive and 12 germ tube negative isolates of Candida species were comparable to their identification by Vitek 2 ID-YST system, colony characteristics on SSA and latex agglutination test. Application of duplex PCR also correctly identified all 148 C. albicans and 50 C. dubliniensis strains among 239 yeast-like fungi.


The data show that both, duplex PCR and Bichro-Dubli are reliable tests for rapid (within few hours) identification of clinical yeast isolates as C. dubliniensis or C. albicans. However, duplex PCR may be applied directly on clinical yeast isolates for their identification as C. dubliniensis or C. albicans as it does not require prior testing for germ tube formation or latex Candida agglutination.

Candida albicans; Candida dubliniensis; Detection; Differentiation; Duplex PCR