Lactobacillus plantarum
Lactobacillus plantarum is a widespread member of the genus Lactobacillus
Lactobacillus is a genus of Gram-positive facultative anaerobic or microaerophilic rod-shaped bacteria. They are a major part of the lactic acid bacteria group, named as such because most of its members convert lactose and other sugars to lactic acid. They are common and usually benign...

, commonly found in many fermented food products as well as anaerobic plant matter. It is also present in saliva
Saliva , referred to in various contexts as spit, spittle, drivel, drool, or slobber, is the watery substance produced in the mouths of humans and most other animals. Saliva is a component of oral fluid. In mammals, saliva is produced in and secreted from the three pairs of major salivary glands,...

 (from which it was first isolated). It has the ability to liquefy gelatin
Gelatin is a translucent, colorless, brittle , flavorless solid substance, derived from the collagen inside animals' skin and bones. It is commonly used as a gelling agent in food, pharmaceuticals, photography, and cosmetic manufacturing. Substances containing gelatin or functioning in a similar...

. L. plantarum has one of the largest genome
In modern molecular biology and genetics, the genome is the entirety of an organism's hereditary information. It is encoded either in DNA or, for many types of virus, in RNA. The genome includes both the genes and the non-coding sequences of the DNA/RNA....

s known among the lactic acid bacteria
Lactic acid bacteria
The lactic acid bacteria comprise a clade of Gram-positive, low-GC, acid-tolerant, generally non-sporulating, non-respiring rod or cocci that are associated by their common metabolic and physiological characteristics. These bacteria, usually found in decomposing plants and lactic products, produce...

 and is a very flexible and versatile species.


L. plantarum is a Gram-positive
Gram-positive bacteria are those that are stained dark blue or violet by Gram staining. This is in contrast to Gram-negative bacteria, which cannot retain the crystal violet stain, instead taking up the counterstain and appearing red or pink...

 aerotolerant bacteria that grows at 15 °C (59 °F) but not at 45 °C (113 °F), and produces both isomers of lactic acid
Lactic acid
Lactic acid, also known as milk acid, is a chemical compound that plays a role in various biochemical processes and was first isolated in 1780 by the Swedish chemist Carl Wilhelm Scheele. Lactic acid is a carboxylic acid with the chemical formula C3H6O3...

 (D and L
Levorotation and dextrorotation
Dextrorotation and levorotation refer, respectively, to the properties of rotating plane polarized light clockwise or counterclockwise , seen by an observer whom the light is approaching...

). This species and related lactobacilli are unusual in that they can respire oxygen but have no respiratory chain or cytochrome
Cytochromes are, in general, membrane-bound hemoproteins that contain heme groups and carry out electron transport.They are found either as monomeric proteins or as subunits of bigger enzymatic complexes that catalyze redox reactions....

s — the consumed oxygen ultimately ends up as hydrogen peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide is the simplest peroxide and an oxidizer. Hydrogen peroxide is a clear liquid, slightly more viscous than water. In dilute solution, it appears colorless. With its oxidizing properties, hydrogen peroxide is often used as a bleach or cleaning agent...

. The peroxide, it is presumed, acts as a weapon to exclude competing bacteria from the food source. In place of the protective enzyme superoxide dismutase
Superoxide dismutase
Superoxide dismutases are a class of enzymes that catalyze the dismutation of superoxide into oxygen and hydrogen peroxide. As such, they are an important antioxidant defense in nearly all cells exposed to oxygen...

 present in almost all other oxygen-tolerant cells, this organism accumulates millimolar quantities of manganese polyphosphate
Manganese is a chemical element, designated by the symbol Mn. It has the atomic number 25. It is found as a free element in nature , and in many minerals...

. Manganese is also used by L. plantarum in a pseudo-catalase
Catalase is a common enzyme found in nearly all living organisms that are exposed to oxygen, where it catalyzes the decomposition of hydrogen peroxide to water and oxygen...

 to lower reactive oxygen levels. Because the chemistry by which manganese complexes protect the cells from oxygen damage is subverted by iron
Iron is a chemical element with the symbol Fe and atomic number 26. It is a metal in the first transition series. It is the most common element forming the planet Earth as a whole, forming much of Earth's outer and inner core. It is the fourth most common element in the Earth's crust...

, these cells contain virtually no iron atoms; in contrast, a cell of Escherichia coli
Escherichia coli
Escherichia coli is a Gram-negative, rod-shaped bacterium that is commonly found in the lower intestine of warm-blooded organisms . Most E. coli strains are harmless, but some serotypes can cause serious food poisoning in humans, and are occasionally responsible for product recalls...

of comparable volume contains over one million iron atoms. Because of this L. plantarum cannot be used to produce active enzymes that require a heme complex
A heme or haem is a prosthetic group that consists of an iron atom contained in the center of a large heterocyclic organic ring called a porphyrin. Not all porphyrins contain iron, but a substantial fraction of porphyrin-containing metalloproteins have heme as their prosthetic group; these are...

 such as true catalases.

Lactobacillus plantarum, like many lactobacillus species, can be cultured using MRS
MRS agar
Often abbreviated to MRS, this type of bacterial growth medium is so-named by its inventors: de Man, Rogosa and Sharpe. Developed in 1960, this medium was designed to favour the luxuriant growth of Lactobacilli for lab study...



Lactobacillus plantarum is the most common bacterium used in silage
Silage is fermented, high-moisture fodder that can be fed to ruminants or used as a biofuel feedstock for anaerobic digesters. It is fermented and stored in a process called ensiling or silaging, and is usually made from grass crops, including corn , sorghum or other cereals, using the entire...

 inoculants. During the anaerobic conditions of ensilage, these organisms quickly dominate the microbial population, and, within 48 hours, they begin to produce lactic and acetic acids via the Embden-Meyerhof Pathway
Glycolysis is the metabolic pathway that converts glucose C6H12O6, into pyruvate, CH3COCOO− + H+...

, further diminishing their competition. Under these conditions, L. plantarum strains producing high levels of heterologous proteins have been found to remain highly competitive. This quality could allow this species to be utilized as an effective biological pretreatment for lignocellulosic biomass.

Food Products

L. plantarum is commonly found in many fermented food products including sauerkraut
Sauerkraut , directly translated from German: "sour cabbage", is finely shredded cabbage that has been fermented by various lactic acid bacteria, including Leuconostoc, Lactobacillus, and Pediococcus. It has a long shelf-life and a distinctive sour flavor, both of which result from the lactic acid...

, pickles, brined olives, Korean kimchi, Nigerian ogi, sourdough, and other fermented plant material, and also some cheeses, fermented sausages, and stockfish
Stockfish is unsalted fish, especially cod, dried by cold air and wind on wooden racks on the foreshore, called "hjell". The drying of food is the world's oldest known preservation method, and dried fish has a storage life of several years...

. The high levels of this organism in food also makes it an ideal candidate for the development of probiotics. In Juana Frias et al.(2008)'s study, L. plantarum has been applied to reduce the allergenicity of soy flour. The result showed that, compared to other microbes, L. plantarum-fermented soy flour showed the highest reduction in IgE immunoreactivity (96–99%), depending upon the sensitivity of the plasma used.


The ability of L. plantarum to survive in the human gastro-intestinal tract makes it a possible in vivo delivery vehicle for therapeutic compounds or proteins.

Antimicrobial Property

The ability of L. plantarum to produce antimicrobial substances helps them survive in the gastro-intestinal tract of humans. The antimicrobial substances produced have shown significant effect on Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria.


The entire genome
In modern molecular biology and genetics, the genome is the entirety of an organism's hereditary information. It is encoded either in DNA or, for many types of virus, in RNA. The genome includes both the genes and the non-coding sequences of the DNA/RNA....

 has recently been sequenced, and promoter libraries have been developed for both conditional and constitutive gene expression, adding to the utility of L. plantarum. It is also commonly employed as the indicative organism in niacin
"Niacin" redirects here. For the neo-fusion band, see Niacin .Niacin is an organic compound with the formula and, depending on the definition used, one of the forty to eighty essential human nutrients.Niacin is one of five vitamins associated with a pandemic deficiency disease: niacin deficiency...

Bioassay , or biological standardization is a type of scientific experiment. Bioassays are typically conducted to measure the effects of a substance on a living organism and are essential in the development of new drugs and in monitoring environmental pollutants...

 experiments, in particular, AOAC International
AOAC International
AOAC International is a non-profit scientific association with headquarters in Gaithersburg, Maryland, USA. It publishes standardised, chemical analysis methods designed to increase confidence in results of chemical and microbiologic analyses...

 Official Method 944.13, as it is a niacin auxotroph.

External links

  • PubMed a study of the use of Lactobacillus Plantarum 299v in treatment of IBS
    Irritable bowel syndrome
    Irritable bowel syndrome is a diagnosis of exclusion. It is a functional bowel disorder characterized by chronic abdominal pain, discomfort, bloating, and alteration of bowel habits in the absence of any detectable organic cause. In some cases, the symptoms are relieved by bowel movements...

  • another reference about IBS
  • Strains of Lactobacillus plantarum found in foods from different cultures
The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.