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Applied and Environmental Microbiology
Vol: 72, No: 8, 2006; Pages: 5204–5210

Kinetic Analysis of Bifidobacterial Metabolism Reveals a Minor Role for Succinic Acid in the Regeneration of NAD+ through Its Growth-Associated Production

Roel Van der Meulen, Tom Adriany, Kristof Verbrugghe, and Luc De Vuyst*

Research Group of Industrial Microbiology and Food Biotechnology (IMDO), Vrije Universiteit
Brussel, Pleinlaan 2, B-1050 Brussels, Belgium.


Several strains belonging to the genus Bifidobacterium were tested to determine their abilities to produce succinic acid. Bifidobacterium longum strain BB536 and Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. lactis strain Bb 12 were kinetically analyzed in detail using in vitro fermentations to obtain more insight into the metabolism and production of succinic acid by bifidobacteria. Changes in end product formation in strains of Bifidobacterium could be related to the specific rate of sugar consumption. When the specific sugar consumption rate increased, relatively more lactic acid and less acetic acid, formic acid, and ethanol were produced, and vice versa. All Bifidobacterium strains tested produced small amounts of succinic acid; the concentrations were not more than a few millimolar. Succinic acid production was found to be associated with growth and stopped when the energy source was depleted. The production of succinic acid contributed to regeneration of a small part of the NAD+, in addition to the regeneration through the production of lactic acid and ethanol.

Keywords:Bifidobacterium;Bifidobacteriumlongum;Bifidobacteriumanimalissubsp;lactis strain;Bifidobacterium;lactic acid;ethanol;taxonomy.

Corresponding author: Tel 32 2 6293245; Fax 32 2 6292720.

E-mail: ldvuyst@vub.ac.be


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