Open Access Highly Accessed Case report

Involvement of the opportunistic pathogen Aspergillus tubingensis in osteomyelitis of the maxillary bone: a case report

Erik Bathoorn13*, Natalia Escobar Salazar3, Shahrzad Sepehrkhouy2, Martin Meijer4, Hans de Cock3 and Pieter-Jan Haas1

Author affiliations

1 Department of Medical Microbiology, University Medical Center Utrecht, Postbox 85500, Utrecht, The Netherlands

2 Department of Pathology, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands

3 Institute of Biomembranes, Faculty of Science, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands

4 Applied and Industrial Mycology/Identification Service, CBS-KNAW Fungal Biodiversity Centre, Utrecht, the Netherlands

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Citation and License

BMC Infectious Diseases 2013, 13:59  doi:10.1186/1471-2334-13-59

Published: 1 February 2013



Aspergillus tubingensis is a black Aspergillus belonging to the Aspergillus section Nigri, which includes species that morphologically resemble Aspergillus niger. Recent developments in species determination have resulted in clinical isolates presumed to be Aspergillus niger being reclassified as Aspergillus tubingensis by sequencing. We present a report of a patient with an osteomyelitis of the maxillary bone with a probable invasive Aspergillus tubingensis infection.

Case presentation

We describe an immune compromised patient suffering from osteomyelitis of the maxillary bone after tooth extraction. The osteomyelitis probably resulted in dentogenic pansinusitis presenting as an acute ethmoiditis. Histologic examination of biopsy samples showed osteomyelitis, and inflammation of the surrounding connective tissue. Cultures of the alveolar wound grew Aspergillus tubingensis. The patient was treated with liposomal amphoterocin B, which was changed to oral treatment with voriconazole based on susceptibility testing (MIC for voriconazole was 1 μg/ml).


This case shows that Aspergillus tubingensis may have the potential to cause severe invasive infections in immunocompromised hosts. A larger proportion of Aspergillus tubingensis isolates are less susceptible to azoles compared to Aspergillus niger. Therefore, correct species identification and susceptibility testing is crucial for the choice of anti-fungal treatment, screening of azole resistance, and characterization of the pathogenic potential of the various species within Aspergillus section Nigri.

Aspergillus tubingensis; Aspergillus section nigri; Invasive mould infection; Species identification