Optimisation of cultivation conditions in the industrial production of probiotics is crucial to reach a high-quality product with retained probiotic functionality. Flow cytometry-based descriptors of bacterial morphology may be used as markers to estimate physiological fitness during cultivation, and can be applied for online monitoring to avoid suboptimal growth. In the current study, the effects of temperature, initial pH and oxygen levels on cell growth and cell size distributions of Limosilactobacillus reuteri DSM 17938 were measured using multivariate flow cytometry. A pleomorphic behaviour was evident from the measurements of light scatter and pulse width distributions. A pattern of high growth yielding smaller cells and less heterogeneous populations could be observed. Analysis of pulse width distributions revealed significant morphological heterogeneities within the bacterial cell population under non-optimal growth conditions, and pointed towards low temperature, high initial pH, and high oxygen levels all being triggers for changes in morphology towards cell chain formation. However, cell size did not correlate to survivability after freeze-thaw or freeze-drying stress, indicating that it is not a key determinant for physical stress tolerance. The fact that L. reuteri morphology varies depending on cultivation conditions suggests that it can be used as marker for estimating physiological fitness and responses to its environment.
Subject classification (UKÄ)
- Food Engineering