Y. Mallikarjun

Said to have potential applications in industry, biotechnology

  • Discovery made while identifying new indigenous microbes
  • Capable of fermenting a number of sugars

    HYERABAD: Indian scientists have expanded the list of useful yeasts by discovering two species that have potential applications in industry and biotechnology.

    The species were isolated from wine grapes and decaying papaya fruits by scientists of the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) here. The one separated from grapes was named Candida hyderabadensis and that isolated from papaya Pichia cecembensis. Both yeasts are capable of fermenting a number of sugars.

    The discovery was made while identifying new indigenous microbes with biotechnological potential by a group of scientists led by Deputy Director of CCMB S. Shivaji. After an analysis of decaying papaya fruit and green grapes, the group isolated 100 different types of yeasts. While more than 90 of them were already known species, the two were newly identified, he told The Hindu .

    Pointing out that various enzymes, anti-oxidants, anti-microbial compounds and nutrient supplements were derived from bacteria and yeasts, he said the latter have been used as "workhorses" for the manufacture of various vaccines, certain compounds and making wine and beer. The group had played an active role in identifying 30 new species of bacteria from Antarctica and established the reasons for their capability to survive in freezing temperatures.