Food Science and Technology Department


Date of this Version

September 1993


Published in Journal of Daily Science Vol. 76. No. 8, 1993. Copyright 1993. Used by permission.


The ability of lactic acid bacteria to regulate their cytoplasmic or intracellular pH is one of the most important physiological requirements of the cells. Cells unable to maintain a near neutral intracellular pH during growth or storage at low extracellular pH may lose viability and cellular activity. Despite the importance of pH homeostasis in the lactic acid bacteria, however, an understanding of cytoplasmic pH regulation has only recently begun to emerge. This review describes the specific effects of low pH on lactic acid bacteria, reports recent research on the physiological role of intracellular pH as a regulator of various metabolic activities in lactic acid bacteria, and presents the means by which lactic acid bacteria defend against low intracellular pH. Particular attention is devoted to the proton-translocating ATPase, an enzyme that is largely responsible for pH homeostasis in fermentative lactic acid bacteria.

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