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Conversion of meso-2,3-butanediol into 2-butanol by lactobacilli. Stereochemical and enzymatic aspects

Speranza, G., Corti, S., Fontana, G., Manitto, P., Galli, A., Scarpellini, M., Chialva, F.
Journal of agricultural and food chemistry 1997 v.45 no.9 pp. 3476-3480
Lactobacillus, alcohols, distillates, enantiomers, enzyme activity, mash
A number of strains of Lactobacillus spp. from foods were screened for their ability to convert meso-2,3-butanediol into 2-butanol. Only three strains of L. brevis transformed the meso-diol into the secondary alcohol. These strains as well as the others unable to metabolize meso-2,3-butanediol exhibited the capacity to hydrogenate 2-butanone to 2-butanol. In both types of lactobacilli, an inverse relationship was observed between the diol or ketone concentration and the abundance of the R form of 2-butanol. This fact has been interpreted in terms of a co-occurrence of two dehydrogenases, both acting on the ketone with different kinetic parameters and opposite enantioselectivities. These results represent a further support to the assumption that 2-butanol present in distillates originates from the enzymatic activity of lactobacilli growing on mashes and give the most likely explanation of the enantiomeric excess of (R)-2-butanol generally found in distillates.