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The Incidence Of Killer Activity And Extracellular Proteases In Tropical Yeast Communities

Jacqueline Abranches, Leda C. Mendonça-Hagler, Allen N. Hagler, Paula B. Morais, Carlos A. Rosa

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The presence of killer and proteolytic yeasts was studied among 944 isolates representing 105 species from tropical yeast communities. We found 13 killer toxin producing species, with Pichia kluyveri being the most frequent. Other killer yeast isolates were Candida apis, Candida bombicola, Candida fructus, Candida krusei, Candida sorbosa, Hanseniaspora uvarum, Issatchenkia occidentalis, Kloeckera apis, Kluyveromyces marxianus, Pichia membranaefaciens, Pichia ohmeri-like, and Sporobolomyces roseus. The communities from which killer yeasts were isolated had strains sensitive to them, and there were interspecific and intraspecific differences in the spectra of their killer activities. Pichia kluyveri had the broadest spectra of activity against sensitive isolates, and it apparently produced different toxins. The coexistence of sensitive and killer yeasts using the same substrate suggests that there is spatial separation in microhabitats or temporal separation in different stages of successions. Basidiomycetous yeasts were more frequently proteolytic than ascomycetous yeasts. Extracellular proteases could be important for the yeasts to have access to more nitrogen nutrients and obtain a better balance with available carbon sources.Key words: killer yeasts, extracellular proteases, tropical yeast communities.