Abstract Saccharomyces kudriavzevii, a yeast species described from a pair of strains isolated from decayed leaves in Japan, has recently been isolated from oak barks in Portugal. Some data suggest that these European S. kudriavzevii populations could be closely related to the S. kudriavzevii genetic background present in natural hybrids isolated from wines and beers in different regions of Europe. However, a more exhaustive study of European S. kudriavzevii natural populations is necessary to confirm this observation. In this study, new S. kudriavzevii isolates were recovered from oak trees in different areas in Spain, and identified and characterized according to their molecular and physiological features. The restriction analysis of 35 nuclear genes amplified by PCR demonstrated that all Spanish S. kudriavzevii isolates exhibit three gene alleles different from those present in the Japanese S. kudriavzevii type strain, but identical to the alleles previously reported for natural S. cerevisiaexS. kudriavzevii hybrids. These results clearly support the hypothesis of a European origin for these natural hybrids.
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