Degeest, B., Vaningelgem, Frederik, Laws, Andrew P. and De Vuyst, Luc (2001) UDP-N-Acetylglucosamine 4-Epimerase Activity Indicates the Presence of N-Acetylgalactosamine in Exopolysaccharides of Streptococcus thermophilus Strains. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 67 (9). pp. 3976-3984. ISSN 0099-2240

The monomer composition of the exopolysaccharides (EPS) produced by Streptococcus thermophilus LY03 and S. thermophilus Sfi20 were evaluated by high-pressure liquid chromatography with amperometric detection and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Both strains produced the same EPS composed of galactose, glucose, and N-acetylgalactosamine. Further, it was demonstrated that the activity of the precursor-producing enzyme UDP-N-acetylglucosamine 4-epimerase, converting UDP-N-acetylglucosamine into UDP-N-acetylgalactosamine, is responsible for the presence of N-acetylgalactosamine in the EPS repeating units of both strains. The activity of UDP-N-acetylglucosamine 4-epimerase was higher in both S. thermophilus strains than in a non-EPS-producing control strain. However, the level of this activity was not correlated with EPS yields, a result independent of the carbohydrate source applied in the fermentation process. On the other hand, both the amounts of EPS and the carbohydrate consumption rates were influenced by the type of carbohydrate source used during S. thermophilus Sfi20 fermentations. A correlation between activities of the enzymes -phosphoglucomutase, UDP-glucose pyrophosphorylase, and UDP-galactose 4-epimerase and EPS yields was seen. These experiments confirm earlier observed results for S. thermophilus LY03, although S. thermophilus Sfi20 preferentially consumed glucose for EPS production instead of lactose in contrast to the former strain.

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