During a survey of yeast ecology in a soft-drinks production facility, a dead wasp was removed from the sampling tap of an external sugar-syrup storage tank. A yeast isolated from the dead wasp was found to be similar, although not identical, in its physiological characteristics to Candida lactis-condensi and Candida stellata. Sequence analysis of the 26S rDNA D1/D2 variable domain revealed that this isolate was most closely related to C stellata, but differed sufficiently in its D1/D2 sequence to indicate that it belonged to a separate species. The yeast species has been named Candida davenportii sp. nov.; the type strain is NCYC 3013T (= CBS 9069T). C davenportii sp. nov. was osmotolerant, moderately preservative-resistant and able to grow in very acidic conditions, i.e. pH 14. This yeast grew well in fruit-containing soft drinks, cola-type beverages and a synthetic soft drink and is therefore a potential cause of spoilage of soft drinks and other sugary food products. Other related yeast species in the same taxonomic clade as C davenportii sp. nov. are also osmotolerant, growing in < 50% (w/v) sugar. Many of these species are associated with insects, specifically bees, bumblebees and leafcutter bees, and many have been reported as the causative agent of spoilage of sugary foods, such as condensed milk, fruit juices and concentrates. It is proposed that C davenportii sp. nov. and other closely related yeasts are primarily associated with Aculeates (bees and wasps). In turn, bees and wasps are attracted by sugary residues in foods such as fruit juices and concentrates, forming the source of infection of these yeasts and thus instigating spoilage.


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