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Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 2005 Aug;68(2):259-65. Epub 2005 Jan 20.

Exopolysaccharide biosynthesis by Lactobacillus helveticus ATCC 15807.

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Centro de Referencia para Lactobacilos (CERELA-CONICET), Chacabuco 145, San Miguel de Tucumán, 4000 Tucumán, Argentina.


Exopolysaccharide (EPS) production and the activities of the enzymes involved in sugar nucleotide biosynthesis in Lactobacillus helveticus ATCC 15807 under controlled pH conditions were investigated. Batch fermentations using lactose as energy source showed higher EPS synthesis by L. helveticus ATCC 15807 at pH 4.5 with respect to pH 6.2, the enzyme alpha-phosphoglucomutase (alpha-PGM) being correlated with both total and specific EPS production. When glucose was used as carbon source instead of lactose, the lower EPS synthesis obtained was linked to a decrease in alpha-PGM and galactose 1-phosphate-uridyltransferase (GalT) activities, the reduction of the latter being more pronounced. Higher EPS production by L. helveticus ATCC 15807 at the acidic constant pH of 4.5 requires that both alpha-PGM and GalT activities are high. These enzymes are needed to synthesize UDP-glucose and UDP-galactose for supplying the corresponding monomers for EPS biosynthesis. Although differences are observed in EPS production by this strain regarding the energy source (lactose or glucose), the monomeric composition of the polymers produced is independent of the carbohydrate used. The obtained results contribute to a better understanding of the physiological factors that affect EPS biosynthesis by lactobacilli, which could help in the correct handling of the fermentation parameters within the fermented dairy industry.

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