Accumulation of phosphate and polyphosphate by Cryptococcus humicola and Saccharomyces cerevisiae in the absence of nitrogen


Correspondence: Tatiana V. Kulakovskaya, Skryabin Institute of Biochemistry and Physiology of Microorganisms, Russian Academy of Sciences, Prospect Nauki, 5, Pushchino 142290, Russia. Tel.: +7 495 925 7448; fax: +7 495 956 3370; e-mail:


The search for new phosphate-accumulating microorganisms is of interest in connection with the problem of excess phosphate in environment. The ability of some yeast species belonging to ascomycetes and basidiomycetes for phosphate (P i) accumulation in nitrogen-deficient medium was studied. The ascomycetous Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Kuraishia capsulata and basidiomycetous Cryptococcus humicola, Cryptococcus curvatus, and Pseudozyma fusiformata were the best in P i removal. The cells of Cryptococcus humicola and S. cerevisiae took up 40% P i from the media containing P i and glucose (5 and 30 mM, respectively), and up to 80% upon addition of 5 mM MgSO4 . The cells accumulated P i mostly in the form of polyphosphate (PolyP). In the presence of Mg2+ , the content of PolyP with longer average chain length increased in both yeasts; they both had numerous inclusions fluorescing in the yellow region of the spectrum, typical of DAPI-PolyP complexes. Among the yeast species tested, Cryptococcus humicola is a new promising model organisms to study phosphorus removal from the media and biomineralization in microbial cells.