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Microbiology. 2012 Jan;158(Pt 1):293-300. doi: 10.1099/mic.0.051250-0. Epub 2011 Oct 20.

Effect of respiration and manganese on oxidative stress resistance of Lactobacillus plantarum WCFS1.

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Laboratory of Food Microbiology, Wageningen University and Research Centre, PO Box 8129, 6700 EV Wageningen, The Netherlands.


Lactobacillus plantarum is a facultatively anaerobic bacterium that can perform respiration under aerobic conditions in the presence of haem, with vitamin K2 acting as a source of menaquinone. We investigated growth performance and oxidative stress resistance of Lb. plantarum WCFS1 cultures grown in de Man, Rogosa and Sharpe (MRS) medium without and with added manganese under fermentative, aerobic, aerobic with haem, and respiratory conditions. Previous studies showed that Lb. plantarum WCFS1 lacks a superoxide dismutase and requires high levels of manganese for optimum fermentative and aerobic growth. In this study, respiratory growth with added manganese resulted in significantly higher cell densities compared to the other growth conditions, while without manganese added, similar but lower cell densities were reached. Notably, cells derived from the respiratory cultures showed the highest hydrogen peroxide resistance in all conditions tested, although similar activity levels of haem-dependent catalase were detected in cells grown under aerobic conditions with haem. These results indicate that oxidative stress resistance of Lb. plantarum is affected by respiratory growth, growth phase, haem and manganese. As levels of haem and manganese can differ considerably in the raw materials used in fermentation processes, including those of milk, meat and vegetables, the insight gained here may provide tools to increase the performance and robustness of starter bacteria.

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