Diversity of Yeast Types Found on Apples

Greg Howard
30th March, 2024

Diversity of Yeast Types Found on Apples

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • At the University of Tartu, a study found 33 different yeast species on apple skins
  • Most yeasts belonged to the Basidiomycota phylum, with Vishniacozyma, Filobasidium, and Rhodotorula being common
  • Some yeasts may be new species, showing the dynamic and diverse nature of apple yeast communities
Yeasts, tiny single-celled fungi, are ubiquitous and vital players in many ecological niches, especially on the surfaces of fruits where they form complex microbial communities. These communities can influence the taste, quality, and safety of many foods and beverages we consume. At the University of Tartu, researchers have recently conducted a study[1] to explore the diversity of yeast species living on apple fruits. This study not only sheds light on the intricate world of yeasts but also has implications for the food industry, agriculture, and our understanding of microbial ecology. The study's goal was to catalogue and understand the variety of yeasts that inhabit the skin of apples. To do this, scientists collected yeasts from apple surfaces and used advanced genetic sequencing techniques to identify them. They focused on the 5.8S-ITS region and D1/D2 region of the large subunit ribosomal RNA gene, which are commonly used as 'barcodes' for identifying fungal species. The findings revealed a remarkable diversity, with a total of 230 yeast isolates classified into 33 different species, most of which belonged to the Basidiomycota phylum. This group includes yeasts that are not as well-known as their Ascomycota relatives, which include the baker's and brewer's yeast. Interestingly, the genera Vishniacozyma, Filobasidium, and Rhodotorula were the most frequently isolated. These yeasts are known for their ability to survive in various environments, but their presence on apples suggests they may play a role in the fruit's microbial ecosystem. What's more, over half of the species were found only sporadically, highlighting the dynamic nature of these communities. Seven of the species discovered were significantly different from known species, hinting at the possibility of entirely new yeasts awaiting formal description. The findings of the University of Tartu's study contribute to a growing body of research on fruit-associated yeasts. For instance, a study on Amazonian fruits[2] uncovered a wealth of yeast diversity, with significant biotechnological potential. Similarly, research on the role of yeasts in wine production[3] has shown that these microorganisms are crucial in developing the flavors and characteristics of wine. The study on the fungal community of Cabernet Sauvignon grapes[4] further supports the idea that yeasts and other fungi interact in complex ways that can affect the quality of the grapes and, consequently, the wine. Lastly, the genetic and ecological research on wild apples[5] provides context to the domestication and hybridization processes that have shaped the cultivated apple and its associated microorganisms. The University of Tartu's research expands on these earlier studies by providing a more detailed picture of yeast diversity on a widely cultivated and consumed fruit. It underscores the potential for discovering new yeast species with unique properties that could be beneficial in food production, such as fermentation processes, or in the development of new flavors and bioactive compounds. Moreover, understanding the yeast communities on apples can have practical applications. It can inform agricultural practices, such as how to manage microbial populations to prevent spoilage or enhance beneficial interactions that could improve crop health and yield. Furthermore, the study's insights into the prevalence and diversity of yeasts can aid in the conservation of microbial biodiversity, which is crucial for maintaining healthy ecosystems. In conclusion, the University of Tartu's study provides a comprehensive overview of the yeasts colonizing apple fruits. This research not only advances our knowledge of microbial diversity but also opens doors for practical applications in agriculture and the food industry. By building on previous findings and exploring new frontiers, such studies highlight the intricate and often overlooked world of microorganisms that play essential roles in our environment and our lives.

FruitsPlant ScienceMycology


Main Study

1) Richness of yeast community associated with apple fruits in Estonia.

Published 30th March, 2024


Related Studies

2) Yeasts Associated with Various Amazonian Native Fruits.


3) Yeast interactions and wine flavour.

Journal: International journal of food microbiology, Issue: Vol 86, Issue 1-2, Sep 2003

4) Succession of Fungal Communities at Different Developmental Stages of Cabernet Sauvignon Grapes From an Organic Vineyard in Xinjiang.


5) The domestication and evolutionary ecology of apples.


Related Articles

An unhandled error has occurred. Reload 🗙