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Microbiology. 2006 Sep;152(Pt 9):2619-24.

Fermentation acids inhibit amino acid deamination by Clostridium sporogenes MD1 via a mechanism involving a decline in intracellular glutamate rather than protonmotive force.

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Department of Microbiology, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA.


Fermentation acids inhibited the growth and ammonia production of the amino-acid-fermenting bacterium Clostridium sporogenes MD1, but only when the pH was acidic. Such inhibition was traditionally explained by the ability of fermentation acids to act as uncouplers and decrease protonmotive force (Deltap), but C. sporogenes MD1 grows even if the Deltap is very low. Cell suspensions incubated with additional sodium chloride produced ammonia as rapidly at pH 5.0 as at pH 7.0, but cells incubated with additional sodium lactate were sensitive to even small decreases in extracellular pH. Similar results were obtained if the sodium lactate was replaced by sodium acetate or propionate. When extracellular pH declined, DeltapH increased even if sodium lactate was present. The cells accumulated intracellular lactate anion when the pH was acidic, and intracellular glutamate declined. Because amino acid deamination is linked to a transamination reaction involving glutamate dehydrogenase, the decrease in ammonia production could be explained by the decrease in intracellular glutamate. This latter hypothesis was consistent with the observation that extracellular glutamate addition restored amino acid deamination even though glutamate alone did not allow for the generation of ammonia.

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