Yeast diversity in hypersaline habitats

L. Butinar, S. Santos, I. Spencer-Martins, A. Oren, N. Gunde-Cimerman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

175 Scopus citations


Thus far it has been considered that hypersaline natural brines which are subjected to extreme solar heating, do not contain non-melanized yeast populations. Nevertheless we have isolated yeasts in eight different salterns worldwide, as well as from the Dead Sea, Enriquillo Lake (Dominican Republic) and the Great Salt Lake (Utah). Among the isolates obtained from hypersaline waters, Pichia guilliermondii, Debaryomyces hansenii, Yarrowia lipolytica and Candida parapsilosis are known contaminants of low water activity food, whereas Rhodosporidium sphaerocarpum, R. babjevae, Rhodotorula laryngis, Trichosporon mucoides, and a new species resembling C. glabrata were not known for their halotolerance and were identified for the first time in hypersaline habitats. Moreover, the ascomycetous yeast Metschnikowia bicuspidata, known to be a parasite of the brine shrimp, was isolated as a free-living form from the Great Salt Lake brine. In water rich in magnesium chloride (bitterns) from the La Trinitat salterns (Spain), two new species provisionally named C. atmosphaerica - like and P. philogaea - like were discovered.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)229-234
Number of pages6
JournalFEMS Microbiology Letters
Issue number2
StatePublished - 15 Mar 2005

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported in part by the Slovenian Ministry of Education, Science and Sport, by the Centro de Recursos Microbiológicos (CREM), New University of Lisbon, Portugal, and by the Moshe Shilo Minerva Center for Marine Biogeochemistry, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel.


  • 26S rDNA sequence
  • Biodiversity
  • Halotolerance
  • Hypersaline water
  • Yeast


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