Fructophilic lactic acid bacteria, a unique group of fructose-fermenting microbes

Akihito Endo, Shintaro Maeno, Yasuhiro Tanizawa, Wolfgang Kneifel, Masanori Arita, Leon Dicks, Seppo Salminen

Research output: Contribution to journalShort surveypeer-review

71 Citations (Scopus)


Fructophilic lactic acid bacteria (FLAB) are a recently discovered group, consisting of a few Fructobacillus and Lactobacillus species. Because of their unique characteristics, including poor growth on glucose and preference of oxygen, they are regarded as "unconventional" lactic acid bacteria (LAB). Their unusual growth characteristics are due to an incomplete gene encoding a bifunctional alcohol/acetaldehyde dehydrogenase (adhE). This results in the imbalance of NAD/NADH and the requirement of additional electron acceptors to metabolize glucose. Oxygen, fructose, and pyruvate are used as electron acceptors. FLAB have significantly fewer genes for carbohydrate metabolism than other LAB, especially due to the lack of complete phosphotransferase system (PTS) transporters. They have been isolated from fructose-rich environments, including flowers, fruits, fermented fruits, and the guts of insects that feed on plants rich in fructose, and are separated into two groups on the basis of their habitats. One group is associated with flowers, grapes, wines, and insects, and the second group is associated with ripe fruits and fruit fermentations. Species associated with insects may play a role in the health of their host and are regarded as suitable vectors for paratransgenesis in honey bees. Besides their impact on insect health, FLAB may be promising candidates for the promotion of human health. Further studies are required to explore their beneficial properties in animals and humans and their applications in the food industry.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere01290-18
JournalApplied and environmental microbiology
Issue number19
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2018
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Food Science
  • Biotechnology
  • Ecology


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