Diversity of the polar lipids of the food-borne pathogen Listeria monocytogenes

Sofia K. Mastronicolis, J. Bruce German, Gary M. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Listeria monocytogenes is a Gram-positive bacterium that can adapt to high salinity and cold. Because the membrane lipids may play a role in its survival and adaptation, we have examined the polar lipids of L. monocytogenes. Extraction of total lipids from L. monocytogenes yielded 7 ± 1 mg/mL wet cells. Polar lipids represented 64% of total lipids and contained 9% lipid-phosphorus. Polar lipids were separated into 14 components by two- dimensional thin layer chromatography. Eight components (88% of polar lipids) contained lipid-phosphorus; among these was one major component (34% of polar lipids). Two other phospholipids were ninhydrin-positive components and accounted for 15% of the polar lipids. Orcinol staining revealed two glyco- or sulfo-lipids accounting for 9% of polar lipids. Five components (4% of polar lipids) were amino components free of phosphorus. The major component contained 46% of its fatty acids as 15:0 anteiso, 24% as 17:0 anteiso, and 11% as 15:0 iso. The fatty acid profile of the remaining polar lipids was variable, consisting primarily of 16:0, 18:0, 15:0 anteiso, and 17:0 anteiso. Their unsaturation level was ≤20%; however, the major phosphoaminolipid component was 46% unsaturated. The ratios of 15:0 anteiso/17:0 anteiso and 15:0 anteiso/15:0 iso were similar in all classes, averaging 1.5 and 4.5, respectively. Since the adaptation process to stressful environments involves activation of a membrane transport system for the protectant glycine betaine, the membrane lipids may play a role in enabling transport.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)635-640
Number of pages6
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Food Science
  • Biochemistry


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