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Syst Appl Microbiol. 2005 Oct;28(8):755-61.

Biodiversity of Saccharomyces cerevisiae isolated from a survey of pito production sites in various parts of Ghana.

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  • 1UDS/DANIDA Microbiology Laboratory, Department of Applied Biology, Faculty of Applied Sciences, University for Development Studies, Tamale, Ghana.


Biodiversity among Saccharomyces cerevisiae predominating the spontaneous fermentation of Dagarti pito in Ghana was assessed. Two hundred and forty-nine isolates obtained from samples of dried yeast taken from commercial pito production sites in eight geographical regions of Ghana were characterized phenotypically by colony and cell morphology as well as carbohydrate assimilation profiling. Yeast populations ranged between 10(6) and 10(8) cfug(-1). Ninety-nine percent of the isolates (247) investigated showed macro-and micro morphological characteristics typical of S. cerevisiae. Of these, 72% (179) had assimilation profiles similar to S. cerevisiae while 28% (68) had assimilation profiles atypical of S. cerevisiae or any other member of the Saccharomyces sensu stricto complex. Amplification of the region spanning the two intergenic transcribed spacers (ITS) and the 5.8S ribosomal gene (ITS1-5.8S rDNA-ITS2), followed by restriction analysis, as well as determination of chromosome length polymorphism by pulsed field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) of 25 representative isolates strongly indicated that all belonged to S. cerevisiae, notwithstanding the phenotypic differences. Sequencing of the mitochondrial cytochrome-c oxidase II gene (COX 2) and the actin-encoding gene (ACT1) of four isolates, confirmed their close relatedness to S. cerevisiae, particularly to the type strain CBS1171 (98.7%), as well as other members of the Saccharomyces sensu stricto complex. Twenty isolates selected from eight geographical regions of Ghana and investigated for their technological properties, showed different patterns of growth and flocculation but otherwise similar technological characteristica. Most of the isolates produced pito having sensory attributes, which compared favourably with commercially produced pito.

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