Microbial Ecology

, Volume 52, Issue 3, pp 552–563 | Cite as

Yeast Diversity in the Extreme Acidic Environments of the Iberian Pyrite Belt

  • Mário Gadanho
  • Diego Libkind
  • José Paulo SampaioEmail author


In the Iberian Pyrite Belt (IPB), acid rock drainage gives rise to aquatic habitats with low pH and high concentrations of heavy metals, a situation that causes important environmental problems. We investigated the occurrence and diversity of yeasts in two localities of the IPB: São Domingos (Portugal) and Rio Tinto (Spain). Yeast isolation was performed on conventional culture media (MYP), acidified (pH 3) media (MYP3), and on media prepared with water from the study sites (MYPw). The main goal of the study was to determine the structure of the yeast community; a combination of molecular methods was used for accurate species identifications. Our results showed that the largest fraction of the yeast community was recovered on MYPw rather than on MYP and MYP3. Twenty-seven yeast species were detected, 48% of which might represent undescribed taxa. Among these, an undescribed species of the genus Cryptococcus required low pH for growth, a property that has not been observed before in yeasts. The communities of S. Domingos and R. Tinto showed a considerable resemblance, and eight yeast species were simultaneously found in both localities. Taking into consideration the physicochemical parameters studied, we propose a hierarchic organization of the yeast community in terms of high-, intermediate-, or low-stress conditions of the environment. According to this ranking, the acidophile yeast Cryptococcus sp. 5 is considered the most tolerant species, followed by Cryptococcus sp. 3 and Lecytophora sp. Species occurring in situations of intermediate environmental stress were Candida fluviatilis, Rhodosporidium toruloides, Williopsis californica, and three unidentified yeasts belonging to Rhodotorula and Cryptococcus.


Yeast Species Rhodotorula Iberian Pyrite Belt Basidiomycetous Yeast Ascomycetous Yeast 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



M. Gadanho was supported by grant SFRH/BD/1170/2000. D. Libkind was supported by a CONICET Ph.D. fellowship and by the SETCIP-GRICES PO/PA02-BI/002 bilateral cooperation agreement.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mário Gadanho
    • 1
  • Diego Libkind
    • 2
  • José Paulo Sampaio
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Centro de Recursos Microbiológicos (CREM), Secção Autónoma de Biotecnologia (SABT), Faculdade de Ciências e TecnologiaUniversidade Nova de LisboaCaparicaPortugal
  2. 2.Laboratorio de Microbiología Aplicada y BiotecnologíaUniversidad Nacional del Comahue, Centro Regional Universitario Bariloche (CRUB)-CONICET (Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Tecnológicas)BarilocheArgentina

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