Distribution patterns ofSaccharomycesspecies in cultural landscapes of Germany

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Abstract

The distribution patterns of the three Saccharomyces species, Saccharomyces paradoxus, S. uvarum and S. cerevisiae, were investigated by a culture-dependent approach in order to understand better how these species propagate in the cultural landscape of Germany. Saccharomyces paradoxus, the closest relative of S. cerevisiae, is shown to be a true woodland species. It was frequently found in the soil under conifers indicating that S. paradoxus is an autochthonous member of the microbial community in this habitat. Physiological characteristics of the species like the Crabtree effect and high tolerance against ethanol suggest that the species is adapted to regular supply with considerable amounts of sugars. Additionally, a high proportion of the S. paradoxus strains isolated in this study are shown to have the rare ability to ferment melezitose. For these reasons, it is hypothesized that S. paradoxus may be closely associated with the honeydew system in forests. Saccharomyces cerevisiae was rare in most habitats and only exceeded the frequency of S. paradoxus in habitats characterized by modern agricultural mass production of fruit. Both the landscape structure and the agricultural system heavily influence the frequencies of Saccharomyces species.

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