The role of the succinate pathway in sorbitol fermentation by oral Actinomyces viscosus and Actinomyces naeslundii

N. Takahashi, S. Kalfas, T. Yamada

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


The sorbitol fermentation by Actinomyces viscosus and Actinomyces naeslundii was studied with washed sorbitol‐grown cells. The fermentation was followed by titration of acids produced at pH 7.0 under anaerobic conditions. Metabolic end‐products and intracellular levels of NAD, NADH and glycolytic intermediates during the fermentation were also analyzed. Cell extracts were examined for certain enzyme activities. Bicarbonate was required for acid production from sorbitol and from a mixture of glucose and sorbitol. Malate and fumarate could also support the acid production of A. viscosus. The main end‐products were succinate and lactate but not ethanol. Cell extracts showed no activities of alcohol and aldehyde dehydrogenases, but they had activities of malate dehydrogenase and fumarate reductase. In the absence of bicarbonate, malate or fumarate, the intracellular NADH/NAD ratio increased and the levels of 3‐ and 2‐phospho‐glycerate and phosphoenolpyruvate decreased. The results indicate that oral sorbitol‐fermenting actinomyces lack the ethanol pathway that can contribute to NADH oxidation. To maintain intracellular redox balance during anaerobic sorbitol fermentation, these bacteria can oxidize surplus NADH through a succinate pathway.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)218-223
Number of pages6
JournalOral Microbiology and Immunology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1994 Aug


  • Actinomyces naeslundii
  • Actinomyces viscosus
  • bicarbonate
  • fermentation
  • sorbitol
  • succinate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Dentistry(all)
  • Microbiology (medical)


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