Culturable yeasts in meltwaters draining from two glaciers in the Italian Alps
Abstract:The meltwaters draining from two glaciers in the Italian Alps contain metabolically active yeasts isolable by culture-based laboratory procedures. The average number of culturable yeast cells in the meltwaters was 10–20 colony-forming units (CFU) L−1, whereas supraglacial stream waters originating from overlying glacier ice contained <1 CFU L−1. Yeast cell number increased as the suspended-sediment content of the water samples increased. Basidiomycetous yeasts represent >80% of isolated strains (Cryptococcus spp. and Rhodotorula spp. were 33.3% and 17.8% of total strains, respectively). Culturable yeasts were psychrotolerant, predominantly obligate aerobes and able to degrade organic macromolecules (e.g. starch, esters, lipids, proteins). To the authors' knowledge, this is the first study to report the presence of culturable yeasts in meltwaters originating from glaciers. On the basis of these results, it is reasonable to suppose that the viable yeasts observed in meltwaters derived predominantly from the subglacial zone and that they originated from the subglacial microbial community. Their metabolic abilities could contribute to the microbial activity occurring in subglacial environments.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 2005-01-01
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