Researchers Discover Hybrid Metabolism of Fermented Food Microorganisms

Researchers have discovered that previously unknown energy metabolism in lactic acid bacteria species can lead to healthier and tastier fermented foods. Credits: Karen Wang-Diggs

Lactic acid bacteria are essential for making fermented foods such as yogurt, cheese and sauerkraut. Certain strains are also used as probiotics to improve human gut health.

Researchers at the University of California, Davis and Rice University Lactic acid bacteria It uses previously unknown energy metabolism. This will result in Scientific understanding About how these bacteria propagate in them natural environment..

Researchers have discovered that the Lactobacillus plantarum species uses a hybrid metabolism that combines respiratory and fermentation characteristics.

“With this mixed metabolism, lactic acid bacteria like L. plantarum grow better and do a faster job of acidifying their environment,” said co-author Maria Marco. Food science Technical Department, Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, University of California, Davis.

Findings published in the journal eLIFE have the potential to lead to new technologies for producing healthier and tastier fermented foods and beverages in ways that use lactic acid bacteria to minimize food waste. Manipulating this metabolism can change the flavor and texture of fermented foods.

“You may find that this mixed metabolism also benefits other habitats, such as the gastrointestinal tract,” Marco said. “The ability to manipulate it can improve gut health.”

Mysterious beginning

The research started with puzzles. Unlike fermentation, respiration requires an external molecule that can accept electrons, such as oxygen in aerobic respiration. Some microorganisms that obtain energy primarily through breathing can use electron receptors on the outside of the cell. This ability, called extracellular electron transfer, Specific gene.. A newly identified set of extracellular electron transfer genes has been found throughout lactic acid bacteria that use fermentative metabolism for energy conservation and growth.

“It was like finding a metabolic gene for a whale snake,” said Caroline Aho Franklin, a bioscientist and co-author at Rice University. “It didn’t make much sense, and we thought,’We have to understand this.’ “

L. plantarum, a common bacterium they studied, is primarily dependent on fermentation. “But when we put them under the specific circumstances we are offering them, Carbon source This makes it difficult to produce lactic acid, the main final product produced during fermentation, and some workarounds need to be taken. At that time, a new metabolism begins, “said Aho Franklin.

According to Marco, “This mixed metabolism allows bacteria to send electrons out of the cell, allowing L. plantalm to overcome a major growth bottleneck.”

The research team is L. We have shown how Plantalm uses this metabolism to change the environment of food fermentation. Triggering this pathway with electrodes also offers many possibilities for fine-tuning the fermentation of food to change its taste.

Healthier dairy products with bacterial and nanofiber membranes

For more information:
Sara Tejedor-Sanz et al, extracellular electron transfer increases fermentation of lactic acid bacteria via hybrid metabolism, eLife (2021) DOI: 10.7554 / eLife.70684

Journal information:

Quote: Researchers have obtained fermented food microorganisms on February 14, 2022 from https: // (February 14, 2022). Sun) discovered hybrid metabolism

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Researchers Discover Hybrid Metabolism of Fermented Food Microorganisms

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