Current Microbiology

, Volume 56, Issue 4, pp 322-326

First online:

Detection and Identification of Wild Yeast Contaminants of the Industrial Fuel Ethanol Fermentation Process

  • A. C. M. BasílioAffiliated withDepartamento de Genética, Universidade Federal de Pernambuco
  • , P. R. L. de AraújoAffiliated withDepartamento de Antibióticos, Universidade Federal de Pernambuco
  • , J. O. F. de MoraisAffiliated withDepartamento de Antibióticos, Universidade Federal de Pernambuco
  • , E. A. da Silva FilhoAffiliated withDepartamento de Biologia, Universidade Federal de Alagoas
  • , M. A. de MoraisJr.Affiliated withDepartamento de Genética, Universidade Federal de Pernambuco Email author 
  • , D. A. SimõesAffiliated withDepartamento de Bioquímica, Universidade Federal de Pernambuco

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Monitoring for wild yeast contaminants is an essential component of the management of the industrial fuel ethanol manufacturing process. Here we describe the isolation and molecular identification of 24 yeast species present in bioethanol distilleries in northeast Brazil that use sugar cane juice or cane molasses as feeding substrate. Most of the yeast species could be identified readily from their unique amplification-specific polymerase chain reaction (PCR) fingerprint. Yeast of the species Dekkera bruxellensis, Candida tropicalis, Pichia galeiformis, as well as a species of Candida that belongs to the C. intermedia clade, were found to be involved in acute contamination episodes; the remaining 20 species were classified as adventitious. Additional physiologic data confirmed that the presence of these major contaminants cause decreased bioethanol yield. We conclude that PCR fingerprinting can be used in an industrial setting to monitor yeast population dynamics to early identify the presence of the most important contaminant yeasts.