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Maquipucuna Cloud Forest in Ecuador Yields New Species of Yeast

In a unique collaboration between scientists from the UK, Ecuador and Réunion, a new species of yeast has been discovered growing on the fruit of an unidentified and innocuous bramble collected from the biodiversity-rich Maquipucuna cloud forest nature reserve, near Quito, in Ecuador.

The scientists have named the new yeast, which produces characteristic Saturn-shaped spores, Saturnispora quitensis in honour of the residents of Quito, who are known as the Quiteňos.

The findings show the importance of biodiversity-rich regions, not just for the iconic animals and plants chosen as flagship species but for lesser-known organisms, many of which are of microbial origin that can be used in green technologies.

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