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Mechanism of dehydration inactivation of Lactobacillus plantarum

Lievense, L.C., Verbeek, M.A.M., Noomen, A., Riet, K. van 't.
Applied microbiology and biotechnology 1994 v.41 no.1 pp. 90-94
Lactobacillus plantarum, vacuum drying, rehydration, heat treatment, cell membranes, DNA, deoxyribonuclease I, inactivation, fermentation, heat inactivation
The mechanism of dehydration inactivation of Lactobacillus plantarum cells after vacuum-drying above saturated salt solutions was studied. The method used is based on the hypothesis that DNase diffuses into cells with damaged cell membranes/walls and hydrolyses the intracellular DNA. Intact, undamaged cells and cells inactivated by either dehydration or heat treatment were incubated in the presence of DNase. The release of DNA hydrolysis products into the incubation medium was measured. It was shown that dehydration inactivation of L. plantarum, but not thermal inactivation, was associated with clear evidence of membrane damage. The residual glucose-fermenting activity of the dehydrated cells related to the release of hydrolysed DNA in the medium, but there was no such relationship with heat-treated cells. Addition of sorbitol to cells before dehydration increased the residual glucose-fermenting activity after drying and this was associated with a reduced rate of DNA hydrolysis. It is concluded that cell wall and/or cell membrane damage is an important mechanism of dehydration inactivation, but that thermal inactivation (up to 60 degrees C) occurs by a different mechanism.