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Biotechnol Bioeng. 2004 Feb 5;85(3):298-305.

On-line monitoring of important organoleptic methyl-branched aldehydes during batch fermentation of starter culture Staphylococcus xylosus reveal new insight into their production in a model fermentation.

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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Southern Denmark Odense, Campusvej 5230, DK-5230 Odense M, Denmark.


A small fermentor (55 mL) was directly interfaced to a membrane inlet mass spectrometer for continuous on-line monitoring of oxygen and volatile metabolites during batch fermentations of the starter culture Staphylococcus xylosus. Using this technique, we were able to correlate production of the very important flavor compounds 2-methylbutanal, 3-methylbutanal, and 2-methylpropanal with various growth conditions. We found that the aldehydes were present in the culture broth only as transient metabolites. They were produced in the exponential growth phase, reached a maximum concentration when the culture became anaerobic, and then they rapidly disappeared from the culture medium. This general pattern was observed for three different strains of S. xylosus and S. carnosus. Small amounts of inoculum or increased exposure to oxygen were found to favor production of the aldehydes as a result of a longer aerobic growth period. Growing S. xylosus under conditions resembling those in a fermented sausage revealed that NaCl (5%) increased aldehyde production considerably, whereas KNO(3) (0.03%) or NaNO(2) (0.03%) had little effect. A lowering of pH from 7.2 to 6.0 reduced cell density, but had a minor affect on aldehyde production.

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