After a previous mass screening and enrichment programme for the isolation of thermotolerant yeasts, VS1, VS2, VS3 and VS4 strains isolated from soil samples, collected within the hot regions of Kothagudem Thermal Power Plant, AP, India, had a better thermotolerance, osmotolerance and ethanol tolerance than the other isolates. Among these isolates VS1 and VS3 were best performers. Efforts were made to further improve their osmotolerance, thermotolerance and ethanol tolerance by treating them with UV radiation. Mutants of VS1 and VS3 produced more biomass and ethanol than the parent strains at high temperature and glucose concentrations. The amount of biomass produced by VS1 and VS3 mutants was 0.25 and 0.20 g l(-1) more than the parent strains at 42 degrees C using 2% glucose. At high glucose concentrations VS1 and VS3 mutants produced biomass which was 0.70 and 0.30 g l(-1) at 30 degrees C and 0.10 and 0.20 g l(-1) at 40 degrees C more than the parent strains. The amount of ethanol produced by the mutants (VS1 and VS3) was 8.20 and 1.20 g l(-1) more than the parent strains at 42 degrees C using 150 g l(-1) glucose. More ethanol was produced by mutants (VS1 and VS3) than the parents at high glucose concentrations of 5.0 and 6.0 g l(-1) at 30 degrees C and 13.0 and 3.0 g l(-1) at 42 degrees C, respectively. These results indicated that UV mutagenesis can be used for improving thermotolerance, ethanol tolerance and osmotolerance in VS1 and VS3 yeast strains.