Project description:The type species of the genus Debaryomyces, Debaryomyces hansenii, is a highly heterogeneous species. It has been isolated from a large diversity of natural sources including fruit, air, water, soil, but most frequently from processed food products. The species delineation of this yeast species urgently needs clarification. The heterogeneity in taxonomic characteristics has resulted in the description of varieties linked to D. hansenii. The aim of this study was to re-examine and classify D. hansenii using a polyphasic approach. A total of 65 D.hansenii isolates were examined, 57 representing the variety hansenii and nine the variety fabryi. The selection of strains for DNA reassociation and phylogenetic analysis was based on polymerase chain reaction mediated fingerprints using four mini- and microsatellite-specific primers. The discriminating power of growth at 35 degrees C and 37 degrees C was re-examined and ascospore production was observed. DNA reassociations and phylogenetic analyses were performed on selected isolates from each of the clusters obtained from the DNA fingerprint analyses. The data indicated the presence of three distinct species within the D. hansenii group, which were represented by type strains of former species and that are proposed to be reinstated: D. hansenii (CBS 767(T) = MUCL 49680(T)), D. fabryi (CBS 789(T) = MUCL 49731(T)) and D. subglobosus (CBS 792(T) = MUCL 49732(T)).