Medium-chain fatty acids (C6 to C12), produced by yeast metabolism during alcoholic fermentation, are known to be inhibitory to lactic acid bacteria. The purpose of this work was to clarify the effect of both ethanol and decanoic and dodecanoic acids on the growth and malolactic activity of aLeuconostoc oenos strain isolated from Portuguese red wine. Ethanol in concentrations up to 12% had no significant effect on malolactic activity but strongly inhibited cell growth. The fatty acids decanoic acid, in concentrations up to 12.5 mg l−1, and, dodecanoic acid up to 2.5 mg l−1 seemed to act as growth factors stimulating also malolactic activity; at higher concentrations they exerted an inhibitory effect. We found clear pH dependence between pH 3.0 and pH 6.0, between decanoic acid concentration and its effect on malolactic activity, indicating that the undissociated molecule is the active form. At pH 3.0 the results can be explained by considering that fatty acids enter the cell as protonated molecules and dissociate in the cytoplasm due to the higher internal pH, leading to increased intracellular hydrogenous concentration. This may be the basis of two different effects that contribute to the observed inhibition: decrease in the intracellular pH and dissipation of the transmembrane proton gradient, thus inhibiting intracellular enzymes and ApH-dependent transport systems.
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Capucho, I., San Romão, M.V. Effect of ethanol and fatty acids on malolactic activity ofLeuconostoc oenos . Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 42, 391–395 (1994). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00902747
- Lactic Acid
- Lactic Acid Bacterium
- Hydrogenous Concentration
- Dodecanoic Acid