Bennett, Ashely; Ponder, Michelle M.; Garcia-Diaz, Julia
Phoma species are phytopathogens that are widely distributed in the environment, most commonly found in aquatic systems and soil. Phoma spp. have the potential to be pathogenic in plants, animals and humans; the latter is a rare occurrence. However, as our immunocompromised population increases, so do the reports of these infections. Medical advances have allowed for the increase in solid organ transplantation; chemotherapies to treat malignancies; and the use of other immunosuppressive agents, which have resulted in a greater population at risk when exposed to diverse fungi including Phoma spp. These fungi have been isolated from water sources, food, and crops; thus acting as opportunistic pathogens when the right host is exposed. Phoma spp. contaminates common food sources such as potatoes and maize, a common species isolated being Phoma sorghina. Though there is potential for causing infection via consumption of contaminated foods, there is insufficient data detailing what levels of organism can lead to an infection, and a regulated process for detecting the organism. The spectrum of disease is wide, depending on the host, ranging from cutaneous infections to invasive diseases. Mortality, however, remains low.