Potential of carotenoids in aquatic yeasts as a phylogenetically reliable marker and natural colorant for aquaculture.
ABSTRACT Apart from Xanthophyllomyces dendrorhous, pink colony-forming yeasts have not been examined as a pigmentation source in captive animals. In this study, aquatic yeasts were screened with a view to abundances of carotenoids. Phylogenetic analyses of these caroetnoid-rich yeasts based on large subunit ribosomal RNA gene (LSU rDNA) partial sequences showed that all belonged to the order Sporidiobolales. Both the qualitative and the quantitative differences in carotenoids between the yeasts appeared to be consistent with their phylogenetic affiliations. This information might be useful in the selection of pigment-rich yeasts containing specific carotenoids from a large number of strains. We also found, for the first time, the potential of a pigment-rich Rhodotorula strain as a colorant for aquaculture. The integuments of tilapia and carp fed the alkali-treated cells of strain Rhodotorula dairenensis Sag 17 were pigmented after 3 months of cultivation. The fish integuments retained the yeast carotenes shortly after the start of feeding, and were converted to the fish-specific xanthophylls in vivo.