Co-metabolic models of Streptococcus thermophilus in co-culture with Lactobacillus bulgaricus or Lactobacillus acidophilus
To shed light on the interactions occurring in fermented milks when using co-cultures of Streptococcus thermophilus with Lactobacillus bulgaricus (StLb) or Lactobacillus acidophilus (StLa), a new co-metabolic model was proposed and checked either in the presence of inulin as a prebiotic or not. For this purpose, the experimental data of concentrations of substrates and fermented products were utilized in balances of carbon, reduction degree and ATP. S. thermophilus exhibited always quicker growth compared to the other two microorganisms, while the percentage of lactose fermented to lactic acid, that of galactose metabolized, and the levels of diacetyl and acetoin formed strongly depended on the type of co-culture and the presence of inulin. The StLb co-culture led to higher acetoin and lower diacetyl levels compared to StLa, probably because of more reducing conditions or limited acetoin dehydrogenation. Inulin addition to StLa suppressed acetoin accumulation and hindered that of diacetyl, suggesting catabolite repression of α-acetolactate synthase expression in S. thermophilus. Both co-cultures showed the highest ATP requirements for biomass growth and maintenance at the beginning of fermentation, consistently with the high energy demand of enzyme induction during lag phase. Inulin reduced these requirements making biomass synthesis and maintenance less energy-consuming. Only a fraction of galactose was released from lactose, consistently with the galactose-positive phenotype of most dairy strains. The galactose fraction metabolized without inulin was about twice that in its presence, which suggests inhibition of the galactose transport system of S. thermophilus by fructose released from partial inulin hydrolysis.
Journal: Biochemical Engineering Journal - Volume 62, 15 March 2012, Pages 62–69