Arginine metabolism in sugar deprived Lactococcus lactis enhances survival and cellular activity, while supporting flavour production

J.B. Brandsma, I. van de Kraats, T. Abee, M.H. Zwietering, W.C. Meijer

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Flavour development in cheese is affected by the integrity of Lactococcus lactis cells. Disintegrated cells enhance for instance the enzymatic degradation of casein to free amino acids, while integer cells are needed to produce specific flavour compounds from amino acids. The impact of the cellular activity of these integer cells on flavour production remains to be elucidated. In this study we investigated whether lactose-deprived L. lactis cells that use arginine as an alternative energy source can extend cellular activity and produce more specific flavours. In cheese experiments we demonstrated that arginine metabolising cells survived about 3 times longer than non-arginine metabolising cells, which suggests prolonged cellular activity. Cellular activity and flavour production of L. lactis was further studied in vitro to enable controlled arginine supplementation. Comparable with the results found in cheese, the survival rates of in vitro incubated cells improved when arginine was metabolised. Furthermore, elongated cellular activity was reflected in 3–4-fold increased activity of flavour generating enzymes. The observed prolonged cellular activity resulted in about 2-fold higher concentrations of typical Gouda cheese flavours. These findings provide new leads for composing starter cultures that will produce specific flavour compounds
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-32
JournalFood Microbiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2012



  • amino-acid catabolism
  • aroma compounds
  • lactobacillus-helveticus
  • carbohydrate starvation
  • dehydrogenase-activity
  • alpha-ketoglutarate
  • semihard cheese
  • bacteria
  • conversion
  • aminotransferases

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