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An assay has been developed to detect production of extracellular β-galactosidases by fungi during growth on a defined medium containing polygalacturonate. Using this method strains of the yeast-like fungus Aureobasidium pullulans and the filamentous fungus Penicillium brevicompactum which secrete β-galactosidase have been isolated. Seventy strains of yeast were tested but none secrete detectable extracellular β-galactosidase during growth on polygalacturonate agar medium.