Species-specific PCR primers for the rapid identification of yeasts of the genus Zygosaccharomyces

Elizabeth Harrison, Alastair Muir, M Stratford, Alan Wheals

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25 Citations (SciVal)


Species-specific primer pairs that produce a single band of known product size have been developed for members of the Zygosaccharomyces clade including Zygosaccharomyces bailii, Zygosaccharomyces bisporus, Zygosaccharomyces kombuchaensis, Zygosaccharomyces lentus, Zygosaccharomyces machadoi, Zygosaccharomyces mellis and Zygosaccharomyces rouxii. An existing primer pair for the provisional new species Zygosaccharomyces pseudorouxii has been confirmed as specific. The HIS3 gene, encoding imidazole-glycerolphosphate dehydratase, was used as the target gene. This housekeeping gene evolves slowly and is thus well conserved among different isolates, but shows a significant number of base pair changes between even closely related species, sufficient for species-specific primer design. The primers were tested on type and wild strains of the genus Zygosaccharomyces and on members of the Saccharomycetaceae. Sequencing of the D1/D2 region of rDNA was used to confirm the identification of all nonculture collection isolates. This approach used extracted genomic DNA, but in practice, it can be used efficiently with a rapid colony PCR protocol. The method also successfully detected known and new hybrid strains of Z. rouxii and Z. pseudorouxii. The method is rapid, robust and inexpensive. It requires little expertise by the user and is thus useful for preliminary, large-scale screens.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)356-365
Number of pages10
JournalFEMS Yeast Research
Issue number4
Early online date16 Mar 2011
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2011


  • rapid identification
  • hybrids
  • spoilage
  • HIS3
  • PCR
  • Zygosaccharomyces


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