Survey of Marine Yeasts assoiated with Mangroves in Puerto Rico
Marine yeasts are widely distributed in marine environments depending on organic materials and other factors. These can be isolated from sea-water, sediments, plants of marine habitats and digestive tracks of marine animals. They also have a high potential for uses in food, feed, and medical industries as well as marine biotechnology. In addition, it has been shown that they can produce enzymes with unique properties with many potential applications in disease control, bioremediation and new bio-product production. To our knowledge, only three marine yeasts have been identified in beaches and estuaries of Puerto Rico; Candida, Saccharomyces and Cryptococcus. The objective of this study is to isolate and identify marine yeasts associated with mangroves in Puerto Rico and determine if they produce natural compounds of possible beneficial use. Mangrove leaf-litter was collected from Playa Rosada in Lajas to isolate strains by traditional culture methods in seawater media. Samples were taken to the laboratory and cut into small pieces (approx. 0.5 cm), mostly taken for the decomposed areas of the leaf. Leaf pieces were cleaned with aged seawater and then directly placed into seawater medium. Samples were incubated for 48 hours at 25 °C. As a result, from the mangrove leaves samples, we only obtained three colonies each one with different colors. These strains were observed under a microscope and all presented yeast-morphology. Furthermore, molecular characterization identified the three isolates as basidiomycete yeasts: Meyerozyma guillermondii, Kwoniella mangrovensis and Jaminaea sp.