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Ester synthesis in an aqueous environment by Streptococcus thermophilus and other dairy lactic acid bacteria

Liu, S.Q., Holland, R., Crow, V.L.
Applied microbiology and biotechnology 2003 v.63 no.1 pp. 81-88
transferases, esterases, enzymatic reactions, enzyme activity, ethanol, tributyrin
The ability of Streptococcus thermophilus ST1 and 19 other dairy lactic acid bacteria (LAB) to synthesize esters was investigated in an aqueous environment. These LAB were able to synthesize esters from alcohols and glycerides via a transferase reaction (alcoholysis) in which fatty acyl groups from glycerides were transferred to alcohols. S. thermophilus ST1 was active on tributyrin and on di- or monoglycerides of up to C10 with ethanol as the acyl acceptor. This strain was also active on a diglyceride of C6 and monoglyceride of C8 with 2-phenyl ethanol as the acyl acceptor. Alcoholysis occurred preferentially over hydrolysis. S. thermophilus ST1 had an apparent Km value of 250 mM for ethanol and an apparent Km value of 1.3 mM for tributyrin, measured against whole cells. Around 80% of both the transferase activity and the esterase activity were detected in the cell-free extract (CFE) of strain ST1. Both activities in the CFEs of five LAB tested were, to a similar degree, enhanced slightly by growth in the presence of ethanol and tributyrin. Using tributyrin and ethanol as substrates, the transferase activities ranged over 0.006-1.37 units/mg cell dry weight among the LAB tested and were both species- and strain-dependent.