Debaryomyces hansenii: an old acquaintance for a fresh start in the era of the green biotechnology

Clara Navarrete, Mònica Estrada, José L. Martínez*

*Corresponding author for this work

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The halophilic yeast Debaryomyces hansenii has been studied for several decades, serving as eukaryotic model for understanding salt and osmotic tolerance. Nevertheless, lack of consensus among different studies is found and, sometimes, contradictory information derived from studies performed in very diverse conditions. These two factors hampered its establishment as the key biotechnological player that was called to be in the past decade. On top of that, very limited (often deficient) engineering tools are available for this yeast. Fortunately Debaryomyces is again gaining momentum and recent advances using highly instrumented lab scale bioreactors, together with advanced -omics and HT-robotics, have revealed a new set of interesting results. Those forecast a very promising future for D. hansenii in the era of the so-called green biotechnology. Moreover, novel genetic tools enabling precise gene editing on this yeast are now available. In this review, we highlight the most recent developments, which include the identification of a novel gene implicated in salt tolerance, a newly proposed survival mechanism for D. hansenii at very high salt and limiting nutrient concentrations, and its utilization as production host in biotechnological processes.
Original languageEnglish
Article number99
JournalWorld Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology
Issue number6
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Non-conventional yeast
  • Green transition
  • Fermentation
  • Omics technologies
  • Waste revalorization
  • Salt tolerance


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