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Food Microbiol. 2011 May;28(3):597-604. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2010 Dec 2.

The kinetics of the arginine deiminase pathway in the meat starter culture Lactobacillus sakei CTC 494 are pH-dependent.

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Research Group of Industrial Microbiology and Food Biotechnology (IMDO), Faculty of Sciences and Bio-engineering Sciences, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Pleinlaan 2, B-1050 Brussels, Belgium.


Lactobacillus sakei is frequently present as the dominant lactic acid bacterium in spontaneously fermented meat products, demonstrating its competitiveness in and adaptation to the meat environment. Since meat is generally low in carbohydrate content, the ability to utilize other energy sources to generate ATP, such as arginine via the arginine deiminase (ADI) pathway, represents a competitive benefit. In this study, the kinetics of growth and arginine conversion capabilities of Lb. sakei CTC 494 were analyzed, and a model was set up to describe the influence of pH on growth and arginine conversion. A series of in vitro batch fermentations using reconstituted MRS medium at different constant pH values (pH 4.50-pH 7.75) was performed. Arginine conversion through the ADI pathway, which was activated from the stationary growth phase on, resulted in the production of both citrulline and ornithine for all pH conditions tested. However, the pattern and the ratio of the end-products of the ADI pathway were influenced by pH. For certain pH values (between pH 5.0 and 6.5), a further conversion of citrulline into ornithine was found when all arginine was depleted. Characterization of responses of the ADI pathway in Lb. sakei CTC 494 to environmental conditions will allow a better understanding and control of this important starter culture in meat fermentations.

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