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Revista argentina de microbiología

Print version ISSN 0325-7541On-line version ISSN 1851-7617


COLABELLA, Fernando  and  LIBKIND, Diego. PCR-based method for the rapid identification of astaxanthin-accumulating yeasts (Phaffia spp.). Rev. argent. microbiol. [online]. 2016, vol.48, n.1, pp.15-20. ISSN 0325-7541.

It has been recently found that the natural distribution, habitat, and genetic diversity of astaxanthin-producing yeasts (i.e. Phaffia rhodozyma, synonym Xanthophyllomyces dendrorhous) is much greater than previously thought. P. rhodozyma is biotechnologically exploited due to its ability to produce the carotenoid pigment astaxanthin and thus, it is used as a natural source of this pigment for aquaculture. P. rhodozyma was also capable of synthesizing the potent UVB sunscreen mycosporine-glutaminol-glucoside (MGG). Therefore, further environmental studies are needed to elucidate its ecological aspects and detect new potential strains for the production of astaxanthin and MGG. However, obtaining new isolates of P. rhodozyma and related species is not always easy due to its low abundance and the presence of other sympatric and pigmented yeasts. In this work we report a successful development of a species-specific primer which has the ability to quickly and accurately detecting isolates representing all known lineages of the genus Phaffia (including novel species of the genus) and excluding closely related taxa. For this purpose, a primer of 20 nucleotides (called PhR) was designed to be used in combination with universal primers ITS3 and NL4 in a multiplex amplification. The proposed method has the sensitivity and specificity required for the precise detection of new isolates, and therefore represents an important tool for the environmental search for novel astaxanthin-producing yeasts.

Keywords : Astaxanthin; Mycosporines; Xanthophyllomyces; Yeasts.

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