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Presence of galactose in precultures induces lacS and leads to short lag phase in lactose-grown Lactococcus lactis cultures

Lorántfy, Bettina, Johanson, Anna, Faria-Oliveira, Fábio, Franzén, Carl Johan, Mapelli, Valeria, Olsson, Lisbeth
Journal of industrial microbiology & biotechnology 2019 v.46 no.1 pp. 33-43
Lactococcus lactis, antiporters, galactose, gene expression regulation, genes, lactic acid bacteria, lactose, starter cultures, transferases
Lactose conversion by lactic acid bacteria is of high industrial relevance and consistent starter culture quality is of outmost importance. We observed that Lactococcus lactis using the high-affinity lactose-phosphotransferase system excreted galactose towards the end of the lactose consumption phase. The excreted galactose was re-consumed after lactose depletion. The lacS gene, known to encode a lactose permease with affinity for galactose, a putative galactose–lactose antiporter, was upregulated under the conditions studied. When transferring cells from anaerobic to respiration-permissive conditions, lactose-assimilating strains exhibited a long and non-reproducible lag phase. Through systematic preculture experiments, the presence of galactose in the precultures was correlated to short and reproducible lag phases in respiration-permissive main cultivations. For starter culture production, the presence of galactose during propagation of dairy strains can provide a physiological marker for short culture lag phase in lactose-grown cultures.