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Int J Food Microbiol. 2014 Apr 3;175:14-9. doi: 10.1016/j.ijfoodmicro.2014.01.009. Epub 2014 Jan 22.

Putrescine production via the ornithine decarboxylation pathway improves the acid stress survival of Lactobacillus brevis and is part of a horizontally transferred acid resistance locus.

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Research and Innovation Centre, Fondazione Edmund Mach, via Mach 1, San Michele all'Adige, Italy. Electronic address:
Instituto de Productos Lácteos de Asturias, IPLA-CSIC, Paseo Rio Linares s/n., 33300 Villaviciosa, Asturias, Spain.
Univ. Bordeaux, ISVV, Unit oenology (EA 4577), F-33140 Villenave d'Ornon, France.


Decarboxylation pathways are widespread among lactic acid bacteria; their physiological role is related to acid resistance through the regulation of the intracellular pH and to the production of metabolic energy via the generation of a proton motive force and its conversion into ATP. These pathways include, among others, biogenic amine (BA) production pathways. BA accumulation in foodstuffs is a health risk; thus, the study of the factors involved in their production is of major concern. The analysis of several lactic acid bacterial strains isolated from different environments, including fermented foods and beverages, revealed that the genes encoding these pathways are clustered on the chromosome, which suggests that these genes are part of a genetic hotspot related to acid stress resistance. Further attention was devoted to the ornithine decarboxylase pathway, which affords putrescine from ornithine. Studies were performed on three lactic acid bacteria belonging to different species. The ODC pathway was always shown to be involved in cytosolic pH alkalinisation and acid shock survival, which were observed to occur with a concomitant increase in putrescine production.


Acid resistance; Biogenic amine; Food fermentation; Lactic acid bacteria; Putrescine

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