The interactions between 20 killer yeasts of various genera and species were examined. Ten distinct groups were recognised with respect to killer activity and 10 distinct groups with respect to resistance to killer action. Using both killing and resistance phenotypes, 13 classes of killer yeast were found. With the exception of Torulopsis glabrata NCYC 388, non-Saccharomyces strains of yeast were not killed by a member of the genus Saccharomyces.
The killer character of the 3 killing groups of Saccharomyces identified could be cured by treatment with cycloheximide or incubation at elevated temperature and the effectiveness of these procedures was indicative of the category of killer yeast examined. Killer yeasts not belonging to the genus Saccharomyces could not be cured of their activity. Double-stranded ribonucleic acids were extracted only from Saccharomyces spp. and the molecular weights of the species present were a function of the killer class to which a strain belonged.
By an analysis of the effects of proteolytic enzymes, temperature and pH on killer activity and by gel chromatography of crude preparations of killer factors, the toxins of different killer classes were shown to be biochemically distinct. However all toxins had certain properties in common consistent with there being a protein component essential to killer action.