• yeasts;
  • psychrotolerants;
  • Patagonia;
  • Argentina;
  • Perito Moreno


Glacial ice and snow are known habitats for cold-adapted microorganisms. Research on cold-adapted yeast biodiversity from Perito Moreno and Mount Tronador glaciers (Patagonia, Argentina), and production of extracellular enzymatic activity at low temperatures (5 and 18 °C), was performed and described in this study. Ninety percent (90%) of the isolates were basidiomycetous; 16 genera and 29 species were identified. Twenty-five percent (25%) of total isolates corresponded to psychrophilic yeasts, whereas 75% were psychrotolerant yeasts. Eighty-five percent (85%) of all isolates had at least one enzymatic activity. Multiple correspondence analysis and cluster classification revealed a relationship between certain genera and some enzymatic activities. Cold-adapted yeast isolates were able to hydrolyze natural compounds (casein, lipids, starch, pectin, and carboxymethylcellulose) at low temperatures, suggesting a significant ecological role of these organisms as organic matter decomposers and nutrient cyclers. These yeasts are especially relevant for metabolic and ecological studies, as well as for yeast-based biotechnological process at low temperatures.