Influence of pH on Oenococcus oeni metabolism: Can the slowdown of citrate consumption improve its acid tolerance?

Food Res Int. 2024 Mar;179:114027. doi: 10.1016/j.foodres.2024.114027. Epub 2024 Jan 13.


Oenococcus oeni is the lactic acid bacteria most suited to carry out malolactic fermentation in wine, converting L-malic acid into L-lactic acid and carbon dioxide, thereby deacidifying wines. Indeed, wine is a harsh environment for microbial growth, partly because of its low pH. By metabolizing citrate, O. oeni maintains its homeostasis under acid conditions. Indeed, citrate consumption activates the proton motive force, helps to maintain intracellular pH, and enhances bacterial growth when it is co-metabolized with sugars. In addition, citrate metabolism is responsible for diacetyl production, an aromatic compound which bestows a buttery character to wine. However, an inhibitory effect of citrate on O. oeni growth at low pH has been highlighted in recent years. In order to understand how citrate metabolism can be linked to the acid tolerance of this bacterium, consumption of citrate was investigated in eleven O. oeni strains. In addition, malate and sugar consumptions were also monitored, as they can be impacted by citrate metabolism. This experiment highlighted the huge diversity of metabolisms between strains depending on their origin. It also showed the capacity of O. oeni to de novo metabolize certain end-products such as L-lactate and mannitol, a phenomenon never before demonstrated. It also enabled drawing hypotheses concerning the two positive effects that the slowing down of citrate metabolism could have on biomass production and malolactic fermentation occurring under low pH conditions.

PMID:38342547 | DOI:10.1016/j.foodres.2024.114027