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Appl Environ Microbiol. Oct 1995; 61(10): 3592–3597.
PMCID: PMC167656

Trehalose and sucrose protect both membranes and proteins in intact bacteria during drying.


The microorganisms Escherichia coli DH5 alpha and Bacillus thuringiensis HD-1 show an increased tolerance to freeze-drying when dried in the presence of the disaccharides trehalose and sucrose. When the bacteria were dried with 100 mM trehalose, 70% of the E. coli and 57% of the B. thuringiensis organisms survived, compared with 56 and 44%, respectively, when they were dried with sucrose. Only 8% of the E. coli and 14% of the B. thuringiensis organisms survived drying without the sugars. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy was used to investigate the role of membrane phase transitions in the survival of the organisms during drying and rehydration. Both E. coli and B. thuringiensis showed an increase of 30 to 40 degrees C in the temperature of their phospholipid phase transition when dried without the sugars, while phase transition temperatures of those dried with the sugars remained near those of the hydrated cells. A Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy microscope made it possible to investigate the effects of drying on the protein structure in the intact cells. The amide II peak shifts from 1,543 cm-1 in the hydrated cells to about 1,533 cm-1 in the cells dried without sugar. There is no shift in the amide II peak when the cells are dried with trehalose or sucrose. We attribute the increased survival to the sugars' ability to lower the membrane phase transition temperature and to protect protein structure in the dry state.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

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Selected References

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