Diversity and relationships among strains of culturable yeasts in agricultural soils in Cameroon
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Yeasts are unicellular fungi; they are found in a diverse range of natural habitats, including soil, aquatic environments, the surface of plants, and the skin and mucosal surfaces of animal hosts. A variety of yeasts have been found in the soil environment. However, most studies of soil yeasts have come from developed countries, and there is a dearth of research on soil yeasts in Africa. In this study, we analyzed 493 soil samples from nine geographical locations in Cameroon for yeasts, using a culture - based method. A total of 110 yeast isolates were obtained. Based on their sequences at the fungal barcode locus, the Internal Transcribed Spacer (ITS) regions of the nuclear ribosomal RNA gene cluster, the 110 yeast isolates were putatively identified as belonging to 16 yeast species, including 15 Ascomycetes and one Basidiomycete. Differences in yeast species distribution were observed among the analyzed geographic regions. PCR fingerprinting analyses identified a large number of genotypes among strains within each of the obtained yeast species. Significantly, there was little evidence of geographic clustering among yeast strains from any of the yeast species. Our results suggest that Cameroon contains significant yeast diversity and that gene flow is common among local and regional soil yeast populations.
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