Aims: This study was undertaken to characterize and differentiate therapeutically relevant Saccharomyces yeasts. Among the isolates were so-called Saccharomyces boulardii strains, which are considered as probiotic agents, but whose taxonomic assignment is controversial. Moreover, the discriminative power of the applied molecular typing techniques should be evaluated.
Methods and Results: Genotyping was performed using species-specific polymerase chain reaction (PCR), randomly amplified polymorphic DNA-PCR, restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis of rDNA spacer regions and pulsed-field gel electrophoresis. Species-specific PCR assigned all of the product isolates to the species S. cerevisiae. By combining the other techniques, all isolates could be discriminated. Moreover, it could be demonstrated that probiotic S. boulardii strains form a separate cluster located within the species.
Conclusions: With the exception of species-specific PCR, all of the applied methodologies were suitable for subspecies typing and indicated a close relationship between the probiotic strains.
Significance and Impact of the Study: The methods applied in this study are considered powerful tools for quality control of therapeutically relevant yeasts. It is of crucial importance, especially regarding S. boulardii yeasts, to verify the identity of the correct strain, since the beneficial properties are considered to be strain-specific.