A yeast clade near Candida kruisii uncovered: nine novel Candida species associated with basidioma-feeding beetles

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Yeasts similar to Candida kruisii were isolated repeatedly from the digestive tracts of basidioma-feeding beetles, especially nitidulids inhabiting and feeding on a variety of agarics in the southeastern USA and Barro Colorado Island, Panama. Based on the identical sequences of the D1/D2 domains of the LSU rRNA gene (rDNA) and host beetle information, the isolates were grouped into 19 genotypes which varied from C. kruisii by up to 38 nucleotide differences in the D1/D2 region. Phylogenetic analysis of rDNA sequences and phenotypic traits placed the isolates in C. kruisii and in nine undescribed taxa. The new species and type strains are designated as Candida pallodes (NRRL Y-27653(T)), C. tritomae (NRRL Y-27650(T)), C. panamensis (NRRL Y-27657(T)), C. lycoperdinae (NRRL Y-27658(T)), C. atbi (NRRL Y-27651(T)), C. barrocoloradensis (NRRL Y-27934(T)), C. aglyptinia (NRRL Y-27935(T)), C. stri (NRRL Y-48063(T)), and C. gatunensis (NRRL Y-48064(T)). A phylogeny based on analysis of a combined database of sequences of SSU and LSU rDNA and the ITS region showed that the nine new species formed a novel sister clade to C. kruisii that was strongly supported by bootstrap analysis. Candida pallodes, C. tritomae, C. panamensis, and C. lycoperdinae formed one subclade, while C. atbi, C. barrocoloradensis, C. aglyptinia, C. stri, and C. gatunensis formed a second distinct subclade within the larger clade. Candida pallodes and C. atbi showed a strong host specificity to beetle species in the genus Pallodes (Coleoptera: Nitidulidae) collected from a variety of agarics. On the other hand, C. panamensis, C. tritomae, and C. lycoperdinae were associated with several unrelated beetles in Erotylidae, Scarabaeidae, Tenebrionidae, and Curculionidae as well as Lycoperdina ferruginea (Nitidulidae). Candida pallodes, C. tritomae, C. lycoperdinae, and C. atbi have been isolated repeatedly in the USA, while the other five new species have been found only at Barro Colorado Island, Panama.

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Mycological research

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