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Mol Oral Microbiol. 2013 Dec;28(6):435-51. doi: 10.1111/omi.12037. Epub 2013 Jul 29.

Erythritol alters microstructure and metabolomic profiles of biofilm composed of Streptococcus gordonii and Porphyromonas gingivalis.

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Department of Preventive Dentistry, Osaka University Graduate School of Dentistry, Suita-Osaka, Japan.


The effects of sugar alcohols such as erythritol, xylitol, and sorbitol on periodontopathic biofilm are poorly understood, though they have often been reported to be non-cariogenic sweeteners. In the present study, we evaluated the efficacy of sugar alcohols for inhibiting periodontopathic biofilm formation using a heterotypic biofilm model composed of an oral inhabitant Streptococcus gordonii and a periodontal pathogen Porphyromonas gingivalis. Confocal microscopic observations showed that the most effective reagent to reduce P. gingivalis accumulation onto an S. gordonii substratum was erythritol, as compared with xylitol and sorbitol. In addition, erythritol moderately suppressed S. gordonii monotypic biofilm formation. To examine the inhibitory effects of erythritol, we analyzed the metabolomic profiles of erythritol-treated P. gingivalis and S. gordonii cells. Metabolome analyses using capillary electrophoresis time-of-flight mass spectrometry revealed that a number of nucleic intermediates and constituents of the extracellular matrix, such as nucleotide sugars, were decreased by erythritol in a dose-dependent manner. Next, comparative analyses of metabolites of erythritol- and sorbitol-treated cells were performed using both organisms to determine the erythritol-specific effects. In P. gingivalis, all detected dipeptides, including Glu-Glu, Ser-Glu, Tyr-Glu, Ala-Ala and Thr-Asp, were significantly decreased by erythritol, whereas they tended to be increased by sorbitol. Meanwhile, sorbitol promoted trehalose 6-phosphate accumulation in S. gordonii cells. These results suggest that erythritol has inhibitory effects on dual species biofilm development via several pathways, including suppression of growth resulting from DNA and RNA depletion, attenuated extracellular matrix production, and alterations of dipeptide acquisition and amino acid metabolism.


Porphyromonas; Streptococcus; biofilm; capillary electrophoresis time-of-flight mass spectrometry; metabolomics; sugar alcohols

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