Unleashing the biocontrol potential of predator yeasts of the Saccharomycopsis clade

Yeseren Kayacan, Jürgen Wendland, Ronnie Willaert

Research output: Unpublished contribution to conferencePoster


Biocontrol using microbes is a promising alternative to the use of synthetic fungicides. Already, several biocontrol products using yeasts are registered and it is likely that more products will enter the market in the future as a result of the biocontrol research programs worldwide. Saccharomycopsis yeasts are necrotrophic mycoparasites of wide range of fungi and have been successfully trialed for control of postharvest fruit phytopathogens [1-2]. Upon contact, they are able to form haustoria-like penetration pegs with which they invade and kill prey cells and presumably feast on their contents. First identified in 1997, they were shown to require organic sulfur compounds for growth [3]. Recently, genome sequences revealed that the sulfur auxotrophy is due to the absence of genes for sulfate uptake and metabolism [4-5] and that a member of the clade, S. fermentans harbours an expanded gene family of adhesins [6]. Another member, S. schoenii was recently demonstrated to be able to kill the emerging multi-drug resistant yeast pathogen Candida auris [7]. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying predation have not been explored. Initiation of molecular characterization of this phenotype involved generation of a molecular toolkit and targeted gene deletion strategies. One target was Kss1, a “pathogenicity MAPK” which is essential for infection in diverse plant pathogens. Characterization of the knockout, including time-lapse microscopy assays, shows that the Kss1-homolog MAPK is essential for predation in S. schoenii. Overall, these findings provide us with an insight and incentive to expose the potential of these yeasts as biocontrol agents.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jun 2019
EventEmerging applications of microbes: VIB conference - KULeuven, Leuven, Belgium
Duration: 3 Jun 20194 Jun 2019


ConferenceEmerging applications of microbes


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