Occurrence and diversity of yeasts in the Mid-Atlantic ridge hydrothermal fields near the Azores Archipelago

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The yeast community associated with deep-sea hydrothermal systems of the Mid-Atlantic Rift was surveyed for the first time. This study relied on a culture-based approach using two different growth media: a conventional culture medium for yeasts supplemented with sea salts (MYPss) and the same medium additionally supplemented with sulfur (MYPssS). For the evaluation of species diversity, a molecular approach involving minisatellite-primed polymerase chain reaction (MSP-PCR) strain typing and sequence analysis of the D1/D2 domains of the 26S rDNA was followed. In the seven water samples that were studied, the number of colony-forming units per liter (cfu/L) ranged from 0 to 5940. The nonpigmented yeasts were much more abundant than the pink-pigmented ones. This disproportion was not observed in studies of other marine systems and may be due to the unique conditions of hydrothermal vents, characterized by a rich animal and microbial diversity and therefore by the availability of organic compounds utilizable by yeasts. Higher counts of nonpigmented yeast were obtained using MYPss, whereas for pink yeasts, higher counts were obtained using MYPssS. Moreover, among pink yeasts, some of the MSP-PCR classes obtained were composed of isolates obtained only on MYPssS, which might be an indication that these isolates are adapted to the ecosystems of the hydrothermal vents. Twelve phylotypes belonged to the Ascomycota and seven phylotypes belonged to the Basidiomycota. The nonpigmented yeasts were identified as Candida atlantica, C. atmosphaerica, C. lodderae, C. parapsilosis, Exophiala dermatitidis, Pichia guilliermondii, and Trichosporon dermatis, whereas the pigmented yeasts were identified as Rhodosporidium diobovatum, R. sphaerocarpum, R. toruloides, and Rhodotorula mucilaginosa. Some of the yeasts that were found belong to phylogenetic groups that include species reported from other marine environments, and eight phylotypes represent undescribed species. The new phylotypes found at Mid-Atlantic Ridge hydrothermal fields represent 33% of the total number of yeast taxa that were found.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)408-417
Number of pages10
JournalMicrobial Ecology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2005


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