Yeast Diversity in the Qaidam Basin Desert in China with the Description of Five New Yeast Species

J Fungi (Basel). 2022 Aug 16;8(8):858. doi: 10.3390/jof8080858.


The Qaidam Basin is the highest and one of the largest and driest deserts on Earth. It is considered a mars analog area in China. In contrast to numerous studies concerning its geology, geophysical, and chemistry, relatively few studies have reported microbial diversity and distribution in this area. Here, we investigated culturable yeast diversity in the northeast Qaidam Basin. A total of 194 yeast strains were isolated, and 12 genera and 21 species were identified, among which 19 were basidiomycetous yeasts. Naganishia albida, N. adeliensis, and Filobasidium magnum were the three most dominant species and were distributed in thirteen samples from eight locations. Five new species (Filobasidium chaidanensis, Kondoa globosum, Symmetrospora salmoneus, Teunia nitrariae, and Vishniacozyma pseudodimennae) were found and described based on ITS and D1D2 gene loci together with phenotypic characteristics and physiochemical analysis. Representative strains from each species were chosen for the salt-tolerant test, in which species showed different responses to different levels of NaCl concentrations. Further, the strain from soil can adapt well to the higher salt stress compared to those from plants or lichens. Our study represents the first report of the yeast diversity in the Qaidam Basin, including five new species, and also provides further information on the halotolerance of yeasts from the saline environment in mars analog.

Keywords: Qaidam basin; halotolerant species; mars analog; new species; yeast diversity.

Grants and funding

This research was funded by the National Science & Technology Fundamental Resources Investigation Program of China (Grant No. 2019FY100700), National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 31670020 and 32070096), and the Youth Innovation Promotion Association of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (Grant No. 2017125).