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Novel insights, tools and measures to mitigate emerging risk by yeasts in the food chain

18th national competition for scientific and technical research

Food security and biotechnology

Senior Researcher : Amparo Querol Simón

Research Centre or Institution : Instituto de Agroquímica y Tecnología de Alimentos. CSIC. Paterna, Valencia.


There is an increase in the number of human infections associated with yeast species that are also known to be involved in processing foods such as Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Debaryomyces hansenii, Wickerhamomyces anomalus, or Kluyveromyces marxianus. Clinical strains of S. cerevisiae have been well studied but very little is known about D. hansenii, W. anomalus, or K. marxianus. In this project several factors related to virulence in a collection of clinical and food isolated strains of each species were determined. Physiological factors were looked at as well as parameters related to infection in an epithelial cell culture model and mortality in the invertebrate model Galleria mellonella

The results revealed that the majoririty of the evaluated K. marxianus strains are positive in most physiological virulent factors, and in the epithelial cell culture parameters. W. anomalus demonstrated to be the most lethal species in G. mellonella. In the case of D. hansenii, all the tested strains are positive in a single and different virulent parameter without a common pattern. Thus, our study reveals that some strains of K. marxianus and W. anomalus, could be a potential risk for human health.  The whole genome of 7 W. anomalus strains, 4 of D. anomalus, 7 of K. marxianus and 16 S. cerevisiae has been sequenced, including isolates from food and hospital environments and it was not possible to differentiate the clinical strains and food isolated. This suggests that the strains isolated from patients could have the origin in food products and be able to disseminate and produce the infections. In the cases of clinical S. cerevisiae two important sources has been observed: dietetic complements as S. cerevisiae var. boulardii, and a more important group related with baking strains.


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