Yeasts isolated from tropical fruit ice creams: diversity, antifungal susceptibility and adherence to buccal epithelial cells

Abstract Fruit-based ice creams are products widely consumed in tropical countries and, because of their composition, can be a good source for microbial growth, including opportunistic pathogens. The aims of this study were to characterize the yeast populations present in Brazilian fruit-based ice creams, and to investigate the antifungal susceptibility to amphotericin B, fluconazole and itraconazole, and the ability of the isolates that were able to grow at 37 ºC to adhere to buccal epithelial cells (BEC). Two hundred and sixty-seven yeast isolates obtained from the ice cream samples were identified as belonging to 29 species, with counts that ranged from 1.5 to 5.2 log CFU/mL. The predominant species were Candida intermedia, Torulaspora delbrueckii, C. parapsilosis, Clavispora lusitaniae, Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Pichia kudriavzevii. At least 16 yeast species isolated in this study have been reported as opportunistic pathogens. Forty-one yeast isolates showed resistance or dose-dependent susceptibility to at least one of the antifungal drugs tested. One isolate of C. parapsilosis was resistant to all the antifungals tested and showed ability to adhere to BEC. The percentage of adhesion to BEC was high mainly for isolates of P. kudriavzevii, Meyerozyma guilliermondii, C. parapsilosis, S. cerevisiae and Debaromyces hansenii. The data suggest that the presence of these opportunistic yeasts as contaminants in ice creams may represent a potential risk to the final consumer, especially to immunocompromised individuals who may consume these products.