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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: DEVELOPMENT AND APPLICATION OF MOLECULAR PHYLOGENETICS OF FUNGI TO ENHANCE FOOD SAFETY AND FOOD SECURITY

Location: Bacterial Foodborne Pathogens & Mycology Research Unit

Title: Phylogeny of the ascomycetous yeasts and the renaming of Pichia anomala to Wickerhamomyces anomalus

Author
item Kurtzman, Cletus

Submitted to: Antonie Van Leeuwenhoek
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: August 25, 2010
Publication Date: September 14, 2011
Citation: Kurtzman, C.P. 2011. Phylogeny of the ascomycetous yeasts and the renaming of Pichia anomala to Wickerhamomyces anomalus. Antonie Van Leeuwenhoek. 99(1):13-23.

Interpretive Summary: Gene sequence comparisons have made possible accurate identification of yeasts and other microorganisms. Gene sequence analyses are also used to clarify placement of species in genera and these analyses show that many species have incorrect genus assignments, which impacts on use of systematics as a predictor of species characteristics. This review focuses on the reason for reclassification of Pichia anomala as Wickerhamomyces anomalus. The yeast commonly called Pichia anomala is often used for biocontrol of spoilage molds in stored grain, and for this reason it is important for biologists and agricultural engineers to understand the reason why this species was transferred to the new genus Wickerhamomyces. The transfer raises the possibility that closely related species may also have unique biocontrol capabilities.

Technical Abstract: Pichia anomala was reclassified as Wickerhamomyces anomalus following multigene phylogenetic analysis. In this review, the phylogeny of the ascomycetous yeasts is discussed, with emphasis on the genus Pichia. The genus, as defined from phenotype, had nearly 100 assigned species, but the number of species has been reduced to 20 following phylogenetic circumscription on P. membranifaciens, the type species of the genus. The remaining species of Pichia have been reassigned to 20 different genera, many of which are newly describes, such as Wickerhamomyces.

Last Modified: 7/23/2014
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