Selective factors involved in oil flotation isolation of black yeasts from the environment
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The oil flotation isolation technique has been successfully applied to recover chaetothyrialean black yeasts and relatives from the environment. The selective mechanisms playing a role in isolation are unknown. The fungi concerned are supposed to occupy specialized microniches in nature, taking advantage of (1) oligotrophism. Mineral oil as a main selective agent may be based on (2) hydrophobicity or on (3) assimilation. All three hypotheses are tested in this paper. Results show that cell wall hydrophobicity is unlikely to be a selective factor. Incubation under poor nutrient conditions provides competitive advantage for black yeasts, especially for Exophiala strains, which are subsequently enriched by mineral oil which enhances growth in this group of fungi. Incubation under mineral media and mineral oil can be used as selective factor.