Influence of polysorbate 80 and cyclopropane fatty acid synthase activity on lactic acid production by Lactobacillus casei ATCC 334 at low pH

  • J. R. BroadbentEmail author
  • T. S. Oberg
  • J. E. Hughes
  • R. E. Ward
  • C. Brighton
  • D. L. Welker
  • J. L. Steele
Fermentation, Cell Culture and Bioengineering


Lactic acid is an important industrial chemical commonly produced through microbial fermentation. The efficiency of acid extraction is increased at or below the acid’s pKa (pH 3.86), so there is interest in factors that allow for a reduced fermentation pH. We explored the role of cyclopropane synthase (Cfa) and polysorbate (Tween) 80 on acid production and membrane lipid composition in Lactobacillus casei ATCC 334 at low pH. Cells from wild-type and an ATCC 334 cfa knockout mutant were incubated in APT broth medium containing 3 % glucose plus 0.02 or 0.2 % Tween 80. The cultures were allowed to acidify the medium until it reached a target pH (4.5, 4.0, or 3.8), and then the pH was maintained by automatic addition of NH4OH. Cells were collected at the midpoint of the fermentation for membrane lipid analysis, and media samples were analyzed for lactic and acetic acids when acid production had ceased. There were no significant differences in the quantity of lactic acid produced at different pH values by wild-type or mutant cells grown in APT, but the rate of acid production was reduced as pH declined. APT supplementation with 0.2 % Tween 80 significantly increased the amount of lactic acid produced by wild-type cells at pH 3.8, and the rate of acid production was modestly improved. This effect was not observed with the cfa mutant, which indicated Cfa activity and Tween 80 supplementation were each involved in the significant increase in lactic acid yield observed with wild-type L. casei at pH 3.8.


Lactobacillus Membrane Fermentation Lactic acid 



This project was supported by National Research Initiative Competitive Grant no. 2011-67009-30043 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Program, and by the Utah Agricultural Experiment Station. This communication is approved as UAES Journal Paper Number 8589. Peggy Steele, a member of Dr. Steele’s family, is employed by Dupont Inc., a supplier of bacterial cultures to the food industry.


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Copyright information

© Society for Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. R. Broadbent
    • 1
    Email author
  • T. S. Oberg
    • 1
  • J. E. Hughes
    • 2
  • R. E. Ward
    • 1
  • C. Brighton
    • 1
  • D. L. Welker
    • 2
  • J. L. Steele
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Nutrition, Dietetics, and Food ScienceUtah State UniversityLoganUSA
  2. 2.Department of BiologyUtah State UniversityLoganUSA
  3. 3.Department of Food ScienceUniversity of WisconsinMadisonUSA

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