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Appl Environ Microbiol. 1985 Nov; 50(5): 1165–1170.
PMCID: PMC238718

Effects of butanol on Clostridium acetobutylicum.


The internal pH of Clostridium acetobutylicum was determined at various stages during the growth of the organism. Even in the presence of significant quantities of acetic, butyric, and lactic acids, an internal pH of 6.2 was maintained. Experiments using N,N'-dicyclohexylcarbodiimide indicated that a functioning H+-ATPase is necessary for internal pH control. Butanol, one of the end products of the fermentation, had numerous harmful effects on C. acetobutylicum. At a concentration high enough to inhibit growth, butanol destroyed the ability of the cell to maintain internal pH, lowered the intracellular level of ATP, and inhibited glucose uptake. Experiments done at two different external pH values suggested that the butanol-mediated decrease in ATP concentration was independent of the drop in internal pH. Glucose uptake was not affected by arsenate, suggesting that uptake was not ATP dependent. The effects of butanol on C. acetobutylicum are complex, inhibiting several interrelated membrane processes.

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