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Appl Environ Microbiol. 1985 Apr;49(4):908-13.

Lactate metabolism by pediococci isolated from cheese.


Pediococcus pentosaceus is commonly found among the adventitious microflora of Cheddar cheese. When this organism was incubated with L-(+)-lactate under anaerobic conditions, L-(+)-lactate was rapidly converted to D-(-)-lactate until racemic (DL) lactate was present. Under aerobic conditions this initial reaction was followed by a slower reaction resulting in the use of both lactate isomers and in the production of acetate and CO2. With intact cells the lactate oxidation system had an optimum pH of 5 to 6, depending on the initial lactate concentration. Cells grown anaerobically possessed lactate-oxidizing activity which increased two- to fourfold as sugar was exhausted from the medium. Aerobic growth further increased specific activities. Cheddar cheese was made with the deliberate addition of P. pentosaceus. When the resulting cheese was grated to expose a large surface area to O2, lactate was converted to acetate at a rate which depended on the density of pediococci in the cheese. The lactate oxidation system remained active in cheese which had been ripened for 6 months.

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