Identity and biodegradative abilities of yeasts isolated from plants growing in an arid climate.

W.J. Middelhoven

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Plants harvested in the Canary Islands Lanzarote and Fuerteventura were analyzed for the yeasts inhabiting their surface. Half of the isolates (22 out of 44) were identified as Debaryomyces hansenii. Black ascomycetes, viz. Hortaea werneckii and two Hormonema species were represented by 7 strains. Basidiomycetous yeasts, viz. Cryptococcus sp. (8 strains), Rhodotorula sp. (5 strains), Cerinosterus cyanescens (1 strain) and Pseudozyma sp. (1 strain) constituted a minority of 33%. Thirty strains were screened for their ability to assimilate various plant constituents including lipids of the cuticle and the cell membrane, hemicelluloses, nitrogenous compounds (protein, nucleic acids, amino acids) and benzene compounds. All strains were able to assimilate or to hydrolyze lipids, lecithin included. Many strains of D. hansenii, H. dematioides, H. werneckii, C. cyanescens, Cr. laurentii, Pseudozyma sp. and Rh. glutinis were proteolytic. Hemicelluloses like xylan and pectin were assimilated by black ascomycetous yeasts, Cryptococcus sp., Pseudozyma sp. and Rh. glutinis. Ferulic and hydroxycinnamic acids, gallic and tannic acids were assimilated by some strains of H. dematioides, C. cyanescens, Pseudozyma sp. and Rhodotorula sp.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81-89
JournalAntonie van Leeuwenhoek: Nederlandsch tijdschrift voor hygiëne, microbiologie en serologie
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1997


  • Cerinosterus cyanescens
  • Cryptococcus
  • Debaryomyces hansenii
  • Hormonema
  • Hortaea werneckii
  • Phyllosphere yeasts
  • Pseudozyma
  • Rhodotorula
  • Yeast ecology


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