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Int J Food Microbiol. 2001 Apr 11;65(1-2):93-103.

Uptake of choline from salmon flesh and its conversion to glycine betaine in response to salt stress in Shewanella putrefaciens.

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Laboratoire de Microbiologie de l'Environnement, USC INRA EA956, IRBA, Université de Caen, France.


When cultured in M63 minimal medium plus 0.6 M NaCl, the growth of Shewanella putrefaciens was strongly inhibited. The addition of an extract from smoked salmon to this medium restored the growth almost to the unstressed level. A comparison of the 13C NMR spectra of intracellular solutes extracted from S. putrefaciens cells cultured in both conditions revealed the accumulation of glycine betaine (GB) from the smoked salmon extract (SSE). Analysis of the osmoprotective properties of this extract for several strains of Escherichia coli (which differ from each other in their ability to accumulate GB (i) from the surrounding environment, and (ii) from its hydroxylated precursor choline), demonstrated the absence of GB in the SSE. From the overall results, we inferred that salt-stressed S. putrefaciens cells accumulated GB from choline present in the SSE. Furthermore, the use of [14C]-labeled betaines gave evidence that S. putrefaciens (i) oxidised choline to GB, (ii) accumulated GB as a non-metabolisable osmolyte (up to 1300 nmol (mg dw)(-1) when cultured in a medium containing 0.5 M NaCl and either 1 mM choline or 1 mM GB), and (iii) both choline and GB uptake activities were osmotically upregulated (both activities were increased more than 50-fold in media containing 0.4 to 0.6 M NaCl). In all, our results suggest that in salted smoked salmon, S. putrefaciens imports and oxidises choline, leading to the intracellular accumulation of GB.

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