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Appl Environ Microbiol. 1976 Apr;31(4):481-6.

Citric acid metabolism in hetero- and homofermentative lactic acid bacteria.


The effect of citrate on production of diacetyl and acetoin by four strains each of heterofermentative and homofermentative lactic acid bacteria capable of utilizing citrate was studied. Acetoin was quantitatively the more important compound. The heterofermentative bacteria produced no acetoin or diacetyl in the absence of citrate, and two strains produced traces of acetoin in its presence. Citrate stimulated the growth rate of the heterofermentative lactobacilli. Acidification of all heterofermentative cultures with citric acid resulted in acetoin production. Destruction of accumulated acetoin appeared to coincide with the disappearance of citrate. All homofermentative bacteria produced more acetoin and diacetyl in the presence of citrate than in its absence. Citrate utilization was begun immediately by the streptococci but was delayed until at least the middle of the exponential phase in the case of the lactobacilli.

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