Xylose fermentation is a rare trait that is immensely important to the cellulosic biofuel industry, and Candida tenuis is one of the few yeasts that has been reported with this trait. Here we report the isolation of two strains representing a candidate sister species to C. tenuis. Integrated analysis of genome sequence and physiology suggested the genetic basis of a number of traits, including variation between the novel species and C. tenuis in lactose metabolism due to the loss of genes encoding lactose permease and β-galactosidase in the former. Surprisingly, physiological characterization revealed that neither the type strain of C. tenuis nor this novel species fermented xylose in traditional assays. We reexamined three xylose-fermenting strains previously identified as C. tenuis and found that these strains belong to the genus Scheffersomyces and are not C. tenuis. We propose Yamadazyma laniorum f.a. sp. nov. to accommodate our new strains and designate its type strain as yHMH7 (=CBS 14780 = NRRL Y-63967T). Furthermore, we propose the transfer of Candida tenuis to the genus Yamadazyma as Yamadazyma tenuis comb. nov. This approach provides a roadmap for how integrated genome sequence and physiological analysis can yield insight into the mechanisms that generate yeast biodiversity.Graphical Abstract Figure.
Here we report the discovery, genome sequence, physiological characterization and taxonomic description of a new species of yeast that is sister to a species previously believed to ferment xylose.