This study investigated the diversity and dynamics of yeasts involved in alcoholic fermentation of a traditional sorghum beer from Cote d'Ivoire, tchapalo. A total of 240 yeast strains were isolated from fermenting sorghum wort inoculated with dry yeast from two geographic regions of Cote d'Ivoire (Abidjan and Bondoukou). Initial molecular identification to the species level was carried out using RFLP of PCR-amplified internal transcribed spacers of rDNA (ITS1-5.8S-ITS2). Ten different profiles were obtained from the restriction of PCR products with the three endonucleases HaeIII, CfoI and HinfI. Sequence analysis of the D1/D2 domain of the 26S rDNA and the ACT1 gene allowed us to assign these groups to six different species: Saccharomyces cerevisiae-like, Candida tropicalis, Pichia kudriavzevii, Pichia kluyveri, Kodamaea ohmeri and Meyerozyma caribbica. The most frequent species associated with tchapalo fermentation was S. cerevisiae-like (87.36%), followed by C. tropicalis (5.45%) and M. caribbica (2.71%). S. cerevisiae-like strains were diploid heterozygotes and exhibited three to four nucleotides divergence from the type strain in the D1/D2 domain and several indels in the more discriminant sequence of the intron of the ACT1 gene. During the process, the yeast species isolated and their frequencies varied according to the geographic origin of the dry yeast. The occurrence of some species was sporadic and only two non-Saccharomyces species were found in the final product.
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