Ecological and systematic aspects of ballistosporous yeasts inhabiting the phyllosphere of the Asia-Pacific region were reviewed in the light of recent advances. In the past 20 years, the extensive isolation studies of ballistosporous yeasts were carried out in the Asia-Pacific region, and the following new species were found in the phyllosphere of the main island of Japan, of the Ogasawara Islands in the Pacific Ocean, and of Thailand, New Zealand, and the Yunnan Province of China: Bensingtonia ingoldii, B. intermedia, B. miscanthi, B. naganoensis, B. musae, B. sakaguchii, B. subrosea, B. thailandica, and B. yamatoana; Bullera boninensis, B. coprosmaensis, B. hannae, B. huiaensis, B. miyagiana, B. mrakii, B. oryzae, B. penniseticola, B. pseudoalba, B. schimicola, B. sinensis, B. unica, B. variabilis, and B. waltii; Kockovaella imperatae, K. machilophila, K. phaffii, K. sacchari, K. schimae, and K. thailandica; Sporobolomyces blumeae, S. coprosmae, S. coprosmicola, S. dimmenae, S. draycophyllus, S. falcatus, S. griseoflavus, S. inositophilus, S. lactophilus, S. linderae, S. novazealandicus, S. nylandii, S. oryzicola, S. poonsookiae, S. ruber, S. sasicola, S. subbrunneus, S. taupoensis, S. vermiculatus, S. xanthus, and S. yunnanensis; and Udeniomyces megalosporus. Yeast species containing Q-10(H2), a monohydrated ubiquinone, have long been considered to be rare yeasts; however, these yeasts were proved to be common in the tropical and subtropical phyllosphere of Asia. The chemotaxonomic and molecular phylogenetic studies based on the sequence analysis of 18S rDNA revealed the heterogeneity of ballistosporous yeasts, which comprised species with polyphyletic phylogenetic origins. A new phylogenetic cluster, Subbrunneus, was newly found in the class Urediniomycetes as the fifth phylogenetical cluster of this class, based on the analysis of 18S rDNA sequences. The Subbrunneus cluster comprises four ballistosporous yeast species found in the phyllosphere of Japan and New Zealand. The future perspectives of basidiomycetous yeast systematics are discussed.
Analogues of deoxypyrimidines are used in the treatment of a variety of human ailments. Azidothymidine, or AZT, is one such analogue used to treat AIDS. Thymidine is the precursor of AZT, and its cost contributes to the high price of AZT. Attempts are being made to isolate and genetically manipulate microbes that can produce and excrete this compound in high concentrations. To this end, 145 different microbial species from Zeneca and the American Type Culture Collection were screened. Moreover, soil samples were collected from 36 different sites in England, and microbes from these samples were isolated and screened. From approximately 25,000 isolates screened as single colonies and from 4,000 in liquid cultures, a strain of Brevibacterium helvolum showed the most promising results. Pyrimidine metabolic pathways of this bacterium were worked out, the isolate was genetically manipulated, and physiological conditions were optimized to increase the production of thymidine and deoxyuridine. These mutants of B. helvolum are considered to be of commercial importance.