Influence of carbohydrate starvation and arginine on culturability and amino acid utilization of Lactococcus lactis subsp. lactis

Mark R. Stuart, Lan Szu Chou, Bart C Weimer

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Two strains of Lactococcus lactis subsp. lactis were used to determine the influence of lactose and arginine on viability and amino acid use during carbohydrate starvation. Lactose provided energy for logarithmic-phase growth, and amino acids such as arginine provided energy after carbohydrate exhaustion. Survival time, cell numbers, and ATP concentrations increased with the addition of arginine to the basal medium. By the onset of lactose exhaustion, the concentrations of glycine-valine and glutamate had decreased by as much as 67% in L. lactis ML3, whereas the serine concentration increased by 97% during the same period. When no lactose was added, the concentrations of these amino acids remained constant. Similar trends were observed for L. lactis 11454. Without lactose or arginine, L. lactis ML3 was nonculturable on agar but was viable after 2 days, as measured by fluorescent viability stains and intracellular ATP levels. However, L. lactis 11454 without lactose or arginine remained culturable for at least 14 days. These data suggest that lactococci become viable but nonculturable in response to carbohydrate depletion. Additionally, these data indicate that amino acids other than arginine facilitate the survival of L. lactis during carbohydrate starvation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)665-673
Number of pages9
JournalApplied and Environmental Microbiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1999
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Biotechnology
  • Microbiology

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