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J Bacteriol. Apr 1979; 138(1): 109–117.
PMCID: PMC218245

Change from Homo- to Heterolactic Fermentation by Streptococcus lactis Resulting from Glucose Limitation in Anaerobic Chemostat Cultures


Lactic streptococci, classically regarded as homolactic fermenters of glucose and lactose, became heterolactic when grown with limiting carbohydrate concentrations in a chemostat. At high dilution rates (D) with excess glucose present, about 95% of the fermented sugar was converted to l-lactate. However, as D was lowered and glucose became limiting, five of the six strains tested changed to a heterolactic fermentation such that at D = 0.1 h−1 as little as 1% of the glucose was converted to l-lactate. The products formed after this phenotypic change in fermentation pattern were formate, acetate, and ethanol. The level of lactate dehydrogenase, which is dependent upon ketohexose diphosphate for activity, decreased as fermentation became heterolactic with Streptococcus lactis ML3. Transfer of heterolactic cells from the chemostat to buffer containing glucose resulted in the nongrowing cells converting nearly 80% of the glucose to l-lactate, indicating that fine control of enzyme activity is an important factor in the fermentation change. These nongrowing cells metabolizing glucose had elevated (ca. twofold) intracellular fructose 1,6-diphosphate concentrations ([FDP]in) compared with those in the glucose-limited heterolactic cells in the chemostat. [FDP]in was monitored during the change in fermentation pattern observed in the chemostat when glucose became limiting. Cells converting 95 and 1% of the glucose to l-lactate contained 25 and 10 mM [FDP]in, respectively. It is suggested that factors involved in the change to heterolactic fermentation include both [FDP]in and the level of lactate dehydrogenase.

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Selected References

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