Differential Phytate Utilization in Candida species
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The present study was undertaken to evaluate and characterize the phytase activity in different Candida species. A total of 113 Candida isolates representing eight species were examined for phytase activity by an agar plate assay using the calcium salt of phytic acid as the sole phosphorus source. A phytase-positive phenotype was identified by the formation of a clear halo around a fungal colony. Cell-bound differential phytase activity was observed in Candida isolates at inter- and intra-species levels. Although phytase activity was not affected by the supplementation of external phosphate in C. albicans, C. dubliniensis, C. glabrata, and C. kefyr, elevated phytase activity was evident in C. guilliermondii, C. krusei, C. parapsilosis, and C. tropicalis in phosphate-free medium. Further characterization showed that, in general, relatively higher phytase activity was observed at more acidic pHs, and the phytase activity increased with incubation temperature, reaching a maximum at 55 or 65°C. Taken together, the findings demonstrated, for the first time, differential phytase activities in different Candida species. Phytase activity may be a contributing factor to fungal survival and proliferation within the human gastrointestinal tract, where nutrients are usually scarce.
KeywordsPhytase Candida Phytate hydrolysis
The research was supported by the Seed Funding Programme for Basic Research from the University of Hong Kong (Project No. 201003159008). The author thanks Prof. L. P. Samaranayake (The University of Hong Kong) for providing some of the Candida strains, Dr. Trevor Lane for editorial assistance, and Mrs. P. W. Y. Ho for helpful discussion.
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