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FEMS Microbiol Ecol. 2010 Jun;72(3):354-69. doi: 10.1111/j.1574-6941.2010.00864.x. Epub 2010 Mar 15.

Yeast and yeast-like diversity in the southernmost glacier of Europe (Calderone Glacier, Apennines, Italy).

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Department of Applied Biology and Industrial Yeasts Collection DBVPG, University of Perugia, Italy.


The present study reports the characterization of psychrophilic yeast and yeast-like diversity in cold habitats (superficial and deep sediments, ice cores and meltwaters) of the Calderone Glacier (Italy), which is the southernmost glacier in Europe. After incubation at 4 and 20 degrees C, sediments contained about 10(2)-10(3) CFU of yeasts g(-1). The number of viable yeast cells in ice and meltwaters was several orders of magnitude lower. The concomitant presence of viable bacteria and filamentous fungi has also been observed. In all, 257 yeast strains were isolated and identified by 26S rRNA gene D1/D2 and internal transcribed spacers (1 and 2) sequencing as belonging to 28 ascomycetous and basidiomycetous species of 11 genera (Candida, Cystofilobasidium, Cryptococcus, Dioszegia, Erythrobasidium, Guehomyces, Mastigobasidium, Mrakia, Mrakiella, Rhodotorula and Sporobolomyces). Among them, the species Cryptococcus gastricus accounted for almost 40% of the total isolates. In addition, 12 strains were identified as belonging to the yeast-like species Aureobasidium pullulans and Exophiala dermatitidis, whereas 15 strains, presumably belonging to new species, yet to be described, were also isolated. Results herein reported indicate that the Calderone Glacier, although currently considered a vanishing ice body due to the ongoing global-warming phenomenon, still harbors viable psychrophilic yeast populations. Differences of yeast and yeast-like diversity between the glacier under study and other worldwide cold habitats are also discussed.

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