Submitted to: Quarterly Review of Biology
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: March 1, 2001
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: To put this review into perspective, it needs to be pointed out that there are two books customarily used for the identification of yeasts: The Yeasts, a Taxonomic Study, now in its 4th edition (C. P. Kurtzman & J. W. Fell, editors, 1998), and Yeasts: Characteristics and Identification by J. A. Barnett, R. W. Payne and D. Yarrow, now in its 3rd edition. These two books take somewhat different approaches. The Yeasts, a Taxonomic Study provides extensive species descriptions based on a number of criteria, whereas Yeasts: Characteristics and Identification foregoes much of this detail, but instead, provides for each species an extensive gallery of photomicrographs and a large format display of physiological reactions. This second approach has appeal to those wishing to identify an isolate but not wanting the detail found in more inclusive species descriptions. The book begins with the dedication to "Those who make their cultures freely available to all" and serves to highlight the lack of sharing of published cultures that is becoming the hallmark of an era in which the Materials Transfer Agreement has become a substitute for ethics and collegiality. The book continues with an introductory chapter that discusses the importance of yeasts to industry, medicine and agriculture, and the need for correct species identification and is followed by brief chapters on taxonomic principles and laboratory methods. A listing of yeast genera is given in Chapter 5 along with their defining characters. Individual species descriptions begin in Chapter 7 and are arranged alphabetically by genus and species. Of the 1350 photomicrographs, about 500 are new to the third edition.