The diversity and antifungal resistance of yeasts able to grow at 37°C and the occurrence of bacterial indicators of water quality were studied in three lakes in Southeastern Brazil. The densities of yeasts, Escherichia coli, Enterococcus spp. and Pseudomonasaeruginosa were determined by the multiple-tube fermentation technique, and counts of heterotrophic bacteria were determined using the pour plate method. The yeasts were identified using physiological and molecular techniques and their resistance to amphotericin B, itraconazole and fluconazole was tested. Yeast occurrence was significantly correlated only with the density of fecal coliforms. Candida krusei, C. guilliermondii and C. tropicalis, the most frequently isolated yeast species, are associated with fecal contamination of water by warm-blooded animals. Yeast isolates were most resistant to amphotericin B (21.7%), followed by itraconazole (20%) and then fluconazole (2.8%). In addition to tests for the fecal coliform group, the density of yeasts grown at 37°C could be used as a complementary microbial indicator that aquatic environments contain organic matter of human origin. The incidence of yeast species resistant to three antifungal drugs shows that these microorganisms could pose a health risk to the people who use these lakes for recreation.

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