Using heme as an energy boost for lactic acid bacteria
Lactic acid bacteria (LAB) are a phylogenetically diverse group named for their main attribute in food fermentations, that is, production of lactic acid. However, several LAB are genetically equipped for aerobic respiration metabolism when provided with exogenous sources of heme (and menaquinones for some species). Respiration metabolism is energetically favorable and leads to less oxidative and acid stress during growth. As a consequence, the growth and survival of several LAB can be dramatically improved under respiration-permissive conditions. Respiration metabolism already has industrial applications for the production of dairy starter cultures. In view of the growth and survival advantages conferred by respiration, and the availability of heme and menaquinones in natural environments, we recommend that respiration be accepted as a part of the natural lifestyle of numerous LAB.
Journal: Current Opinion in Biotechnology - Volume 22, Issue 2, April 2011, Pages 143–149