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FEMS Microbiol Lett. 2006 Dec;265(2):195-201.

Clostridium proteoclasticum: A ruminal bacterium that forms stearic acid from linoleic acid.

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Rowett Research Institute, Bucksburn, Aberdeen, UK.


The aim of this study was to identify ruminal bacteria that form stearic acid (18 : 0) from linoleic acid (cis-9,cis-12-18 : 2). One 18 : 0-producing isolate, P-18, isolated from the sheep rumen was similar in morphology and metabolic properties to 'Fusocillus' spp. isolated many years ago. Phylogenetic analysis based on nearly full-length 16S rRNA gene sequence (>1300 bp) analysis indicated that the stearate producer was most closely related to Clostridium proteoclasticum B316(T). Clostridium proteoclasticum B316(T) was also found to form 18 : 0, as were other bacteria isolated elsewhere, which occurred in the same family subclass of the low G+C% Gram-positive bacteria, related to Butyrivibrio fibrisolvens. These bacteria are not clostridia, and the ability to form 18 : 0 was present in all strains in contrast to proteolytic activity, which was variable. Production of 18 : 0 occurred in growing, but not in stationary-phase, bacteria, which made detection of biohydrogenating activity difficult, because of the inhibitory effects of linoleic acid on growth.

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