Fatty acid production from amino acids and α-keto acids by Brevibacterium linens BL2

Balasubramanian Ganesan, Kimberly Seefeldt, Bart C Weimer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Low concentrations of branched-chain fatty acids, such as isobutyric and isovaleric acids, develop during the ripening of hard cheeses and contribute to the beneficial flavor prolile. Catabolism of amino acids, such as branched-chain amino acids, by bacteria via aminotransferase reactions and α-keto acids is one mechanism to generate these flavorful compounds; however, metabolism of α-keto acids to flavor-associated compounds is controversial. The objective of this study was to determine the ability of Brevibacterium linens BL2 to produce fatty acids from amino acids and α-keto acids and determine the occurrence of the likely genes in the draft genome sequence. BL2 catabolized amino acids to fatty acids only under carbohydrate starvation conditions. The primary fatty acid end products from leucine were isovaleric acid, acetic acid, and propionic acid. In contrast, logarithmic-phase cells of BL2 produced fatty acids from α-keto acids only. BL2 also converted α-keto acids to branched-chain fatty acids after carbohydrate starvation was achieved. At least 100 genes are potentially involved in five different metabolic pathways. The genome of B. linens ATCC 9174 contained these genes for production and degradation of fatty acids. These data indicate that brevibacteria have the ability to produce fatty acids from amino and α-keto acids and that carbon metabolism is important in regulating this event.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6385-6393
Number of pages9
JournalApplied and Environmental Microbiology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2004
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Biotechnology
  • Microbiology


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