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Arch Oral Biol. 1983;28(11):1007-15.

Catabolism of arginine by the mixed bacteria in human salivary sediment under conditions of low and high glucose concentration.


The catabolism of glucose by the oral mixed bacteria results in a lowering of the pH whereas arginine degradation favours a rise. In the mouth, low and high levels of glucose cause different plaque pH conditions which, in turn, might affect the rate and mode of degradation of arginine. This possibility was examined in the suspended salivary-sediment system where these pH conditions can be simulated. With the pH, the metabolic parameters examined were arginine utilization, ammonia, carbon dioxide and putrescine formation, utilization of glucose and changes in levels of L(+)- and D(-)-lactic acid. At the lower glucose concentration, the pH rapidly fell and then slowly rose whereas, with the higher glucose level, the pH showed a greater fall and no subsequent rise. The more acidic pH conditions favoured by the higher glucose level inhibited arginine degradation and the appearance of its various end-products and intermediates. Arginine degradation with arginine-[U-14C] and paper chromatography-autoradiography showed successive appearance of citrulline, ornithine and putrescine and, depending upon the pH, some succinate. When the pH was held constant at several different values, arginine degradation was optimal when the pH was near neutrality. In supplementary experiments, arginine had little effect on the ability of the oral mixed bacteria to utilize glucose and produce and utilize lactic acid, whereas the arginine peptide, arginylisoleucine and saliva supernatant stimulated these processes. Thus glycolysis enhancement and a more rapid clearance of fermentable carbohydrate by the oral bacteria would accompany pH-rise activity with arginine peptide and saliva but would not accompany pH-rise activity with arginine.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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