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J Dairy Sci. 2008 Oct;91(10):3798-805. doi: 10.3168/jds.2007-0468.

Identification of yeasts and evaluation of their distribution in Taiwanese Kefir and Viili starters.

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Experimental Farm, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan, Republic of China.


The objective of the present study was to investigate yeast communities in kefir grains and viili starters in Taiwan through conventional microbiological cultivation and polymerase chain reaction-denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (PCR-DGGE). The DNA sequencing was used as a validity technique to ensure that all isolates within each group belonged to just one species, and to confirm the identified results of PCR-DGGE. Results indicated that a combination of conventional microbiological cultivation with PCR-DGGE and sequencing could successfully identify 4 yeast species from both types of cultures in Taiwan. Kluyveromyces marxianus, Saccharomyces turicensis, and Pichia fermentans were found in Taiwanese kefir grains with a distribution of 76, 22, and 2%, respectively, whereas Klu. marxianus, Saccharomyces unisporus and P. fermentans were identified in viili starters corresponding to 58, 11, and 31% of the total cell counts, respectively. Furthermore, the culture-independent method was applied to identify the yeast species using DGGE. Only 2 yeast species, Klu. marxianus and S. turicensis, were found in kefir grains and 2, Klu. marxianus and P. fermentans, in viili starters. These results suggest that in samples containing multiple species, PCR-DGGE may fail to detect some species. Sequences of yeast isolates reported in this study have been deposited in the GenBank database under accession nos. DQ139802, AF398485, DQ377652, and AY007920.

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