Responses of Lactic Acid Bacteria to Starvation

  • Bart C. Weimer
Part of the Food Microbiology and Food Safety book series (FMFS)


Lactic acid bacteria are exposed to a series of stresses during environmental transit and food fermentation processes. Stresses unique to fermented foods are high acid, low temperature, and limited to no free sugar. In fermented foods, lactobacilli and lactococci recently have been recognized to become nonculturable (NC) under these conditions. It has been shown that lactococci become NC under carbohydrate starvation, which leads to additional metabolic changes during 180 days of incubation. Important end products include branched-chain fatty acids from the catabolism of branched-chain amino acids. In addition, sulfur metabolism changes. It has yet to be demonstrated that NC lactococci can be resuscitated with known compounds or peptides. The NC state of lactococci leads to new metabolic end products not produced during log-phase growth.


Lactic Acid Bacterium Amino Acid Metabolism Carbon Starvation Amino Acid Catabolism Arginine Deiminase 
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Additional Resources

  1. Biocyc ( a collection of over 160 pathway databases for metabolic reconstruction of specific organisms.
  2. GOLD ( provides current information about genome sequencing projects.
  3. KEGG ( a suite of databases and software to simulate the metabolism of cells from their genome information.
  4. Metacyc ( a nonredundant metabolic encyclopedia of all known metabolic pathways.
  5. National Center Biotechnology Information ( a genetic and bioinformatics resource within the National Institutes of Health that hosts GenBank files of genome sequences for public access.
  6. The Joint Genome Institute ( a genome sequencing facility hosted by the U.S. Department of Energy that provides public access to draft and finished genomes.
  7. The Sanger Institute ( a genome sequencing facility hosted by the Wellcome Trust Foundation that provides open-source tools for genome analysis.

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Population Health and Reproduction, School of Veterinary MedicineUniversity of CaliforniaDavisUSA

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