Home • Xanthophyllomyces dendrorhous CBS 6938 v1.0
Xanthoyphyllomyces dendrorhous ATCC 96594. Image by Joseph Collins.
Xanthoyphyllomyces dendrorhous ATCC 96594. Image by Joseph Collins.

Xanthophyllomyces dendrorhous ATCC 96594/CBS 6938 (formerly Phaffia rhodozyma) is a red/orange-pigmented basidiomycete yeast. X. dendrorhous is psychro-tolerant, originally isolated from trees located in mountainous regions of Japan and Alaska (Phaff, 1972). X. dendrorhous has been isolated from places all over the world, including Antarctica (Kurtzman, 2011 and Contreras, 2015). This strain has optimal growth at room temperature (21°C), and grows in generic media formulations, such as YPD (Niklitschek, 2008). X. dendrorhous is best known for producing industrial amounts of the carotenoid astaxanthin. Carotenoids are produced in X. dendrorhous to survive stressful environmental conditions, such as high UV exposure (Libkind, 2011), oxidative stress from antimicrobials produced from its host tree (Schroeder, 1993 and Schroeder, 1995) or plant pathogens (Echavarri-Erasun, 2004)

The Xanthophyllomyces dendrorhous CBS 6938 genome was not sequenced by the JGI. The assembly was provided by Eric Young and it was annotated using the JGI Fungal Annotation Pipeline.

This strain was obtained from the ATCC, and was originally isolated from birch sap in Finland.


Phaff, H. J. A comparative study of the yeast florae associated with trees of the Japanese Islands and on the West Coast of North America. Proc. IV IFS: Ferment. Technol. Today, Kyoto. Society of Fermentation Technology, 759-774 (1972).

Kurtzman, C. P., Fell, J. W. & Boekhout, T. 1 online resource (3 volumes (various pagings)) (Elsevier Science,, London ; Burlington, Mass., 2011).

Contreras, G. et al. Identification and analysis of metabolite production with biotechnological potential in Xanthophyllomyces dendrorhous isolates. World J Microbiol Biotechnol 31, 517-526, doi:10.1007/s11274-015-1808-3 (2015).

Niklitschek, M. et al. Genomic organization of the structural genes controlling the astaxanthin biosynthesis pathway of Xanthophyllomyces dendrorhous. Biol Res 41, 93-108, doi:10.4067/S0716-97602008000100011 (2008).

Libkind, D., Moline, M. & van Broock, M. Production of the UVB-absorbing compound mycosporine-glutaminol-glucoside by Xanthophyllomyces dendrorhous (Phaffia rhodozyma). FEMS Yeast Res 11, 52-59, doi:10.1111/j.1567-1364.2010.00688.x (2011).

Schroeder, W. A. & Johnson, E. A. Antioxidant role of carotenoids in Phaffia rhodozyma. Microbiology 139, 907-912, doi:doi:10.1099/00221287-139-5-907 (1993).

Schroeder, W. A. & Johnson, E. A. Carotenoids protect Phaffia rhodozyma against singlet oxygen damage. Journal of Industrial Microbiology 14, 502-507, doi:10.1007/bf01573965 (1995).

Echavarri-Erasun, C. & Johnson, E. A. Stimulation of astaxanthin formation in the yeast Xanthophyllomyces dendrorhous by the fungus Epicoccum nigrum. FEMS Yeast Res 4, 511-519, doi:10.1016/S1567-1356(03)00177-6 (2004).