This work was performed to investigate on the yeast ecology of durum wheat to evaluate the interaction between kernel yeasts and the commercial baker's yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae during dough leavening. Yeast populations were studied in 39 genotypes of durum wheat cultivated in Sicily. The highest level of kernel yeasts was 2.9 Log CFU/g. A total of 413 isolates was collected and subjected to phenotypic and genotypic characterization. Twenty-three yeast species belonging to 11 genera have been identified. Filobasidium oeirense, Sporobolomyces roseus and Aureobasidium pullulans were the species most commonly found in durum wheat kernels. Doughs were co-inoculated with yeasts isolated from wheat kernels and commercial Saccharomyces cerevisiae, in order to evaluate the interactions between yeasts and the leavening performance. Yeast populations of all doughs have been monitored as well as dough volume increase and weight loss (as CO2) measured after 2 h of fermentation. The doughs whose final volume was higher than control dough (inoculated exclusively with S. cerevisiae) were those inoculated with Naganishia albida, Vishniacozyma dimennae (118 mL each), and Candida parapsilosis (102 mL). The weight losses were variable, depending on the co-culture used with S. cerevisiae and the values were in the range of 0.08-1.00 g CO2/100 g. The kernel yeasts species C. parapsilosis, N. albida, P. terrestris, R. mucilaginosa and V. dimennae deserves future attention to be co-inoculated with the commercial starter S. cerevisiae in order to improve the sensory characteristics of bread.