Three novel D-xylose-fermenting yeast species of Spathaspora clade were recovered from rotting wood in regions of the Atlantic Rainforest ecosystem in Brazil. Differentiation of new species was based on analyses of the gene encoding the D1/D2 sequences of large subunit of rRNA and on 642 conserved, single-copy, orthologous genes from genome sequence assemblies from the newly described species and 15 closely-related Debaryomycetaceae/Metschnikowiaceae species. Spathaspora girioi sp. nov. produced unconjugated asci with a single elongated ascospore with curved ends; ascospore formation was not observed for the other two species. The three novel species ferment D-xylose with different efficiencies. Spathaspora hagerdaliae sp. nov. and Sp. girioi sp. nov. showed xylose reductase (XR) activity strictly dependent on NADPH, whereas Sp. gorwiae sp. nov. had XR activity that used both NADH and NADPH as co-factors. The genes that encode enzymes involved in D-xylose metabolism (XR, xylitol dehydrogenase and xylulokinase) were also identified for these novel species. The type strains are Sp. girioi sp. nov. UFMG-CM-Y302(T) (=CBS 13476), Sp. hagerdaliae f.a., sp. nov. UFMG-CM-Y303(T) (=CBS 13475) and Sp. gorwiae f.a., sp. nov. UFMG-CM-Y312(T) (=CBS 13472).
Keywords: D-xylose fermentation; Spathaspora; enzymes; genome sequencing; novel yeast species.
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