Global patterns in culturable soil yeast diversity Journal Articles uri icon

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  • Yeasts, broadly defined as unicellular fungi, fulfill essential roles in soil ecosystems as decomposers and nutrition sources for fellow soil-dwellers. Broad-scale investigations of soil yeasts pose a methodological challenge as metagenomics are of limited use for identifying this group of fungi. Here we characterize global soil yeast diversity using fungal DNA barcoding on 1473 yeasts cultured from 3826 soil samples obtained from nine countries in six continents. We identify mean annual precipitation and international air travel as two significant correlates with soil yeast community structure and composition worldwide. Evidence for anthropogenic influences on soil yeast communities, directly via travel and indirectly via altered rainfall patterns resulting from climate change, is concerning as we found common infectious yeasts frequently distributed in soil in several countries. Our discovery of 41 putative novel species highlights the continued need for culture-based studies to advance our knowledge of environmental yeast diversity.


  • Samarasinghe, Himeshi
  • Lu, Yi
  • Aljohani, Renad
  • Al-Amad, Ahmad
  • Yoell, Heather
  • Xu, Jianping

publication date

  • October 2021