, Volume 90, Issue 3, pp 221-231
Date: 27 Jul 2006

A comparison of clinical and food Saccharomyces cerevisiae isolates on the basis of potential virulence factors

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Saccharomyces cerevisiae is the most widely used yeast in industrial/commercial food and beverage production and is even consumed as a nutritional supplement. Various cases of fungemia caused by this yeast species in severely debilitated traumatized or immune-deficient patients have been reported in recent years, suggesting that this species could be an opportunistic pathogen in such patients. To determine whether the industrial S. cerevisiae strains can be included in this virulent group of strains, we carried out a comparative study between clinical and industrial yeasts based on the various phenotypic traits associated with pathogenicity in two other yeast species (Candida albicans and Cryptococcus neoformans). The majority of the clinical isolates were found to secrete higher levels of protease and phospholipase, grow better at 42°C and show strong pseudohyphal growth relative to industrial yeasts. However three industrial yeast strains, one commercial wine strain, baker’s yeast and one commercial strain of S. cerevisiae (var. boulardii), were exceptions and based on their physiological traits these yeasts would appear to be related to clinical strains.