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Molecular characterization of marine yeasts isolated from the Red Sea coast of Saudi Arabia

Ahmed E. Al-Sabri & Mansour K. Gatasheh

Sydowia 76: 201-212

Published online on May 6th, 2024

Marine yeasts are a diverse group of eukaryotic microorganisms that play important roles in marine ecosystems. Little is known about the biodiversity of marine yeasts from the Red Sea. The occurrence of cultivable yeasts was investigated along the water column (0–10 meter depth) of six off-shore locations at two discrete sites in the Red Sea. An unexpectedly high abundance of yeasts, accompanied by scarce biodiversity, was observed up to 10-meter depth. The yeast isolates belonged to the five genera: Rhodotorula, Candida, Pichia, Cryptococcus, and Hortaea. Phylogenetic analyses based on 28S rRNA gene sequences allowed us to establish the precise taxonomic position of each of the isolates and thereby investigate the intraspecific relationships among them. Eight strains of black yeast were identified as members of Hortaea, which showed a wide distribution in the deep-sea, and shallow areas. This is the first report on the isolation of marine yeasts from Red Sea water. The occurrence of Candida dubliniensis is also being reported for the first time in marine environments.

Keywords: rRNA, microbiota, black yeasts, Candida dubliniensis, Al-Qunfudhah

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