Modelling the Growth Rate of Escherichia coli as a Function of pH and Lactic Acid Concentration
Presser, KA and Ratkowsky, DA and Ross, T, Modelling the Growth Rate of Escherichia coli as a Function of pH and Lactic Acid Concentration, Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 63, (6) pp. 2355-2360. ISSN 0099-2240 (1997) [Refereed Article]
The growth rate responses of Escherichia coli M23 (a nonpathogenic strain) to suboptimal pH and lactic acid concentration were determined. Growth rates were measured turbidimetrically at 20°C in the range of pH 2.71 to 8.45. The total concentration of lactic acid was fixed at specific values, and the pH was varied by the addition of a strong acid (hydrochloric) or base (sodium hydroxide) to enable the determination of undissociated and dissociated lactic acid concentrations under each condition. In the absence of lactic acid, E. coli grew at pH 4.0 but not at pH 3.7 and was unable to grow in the presence of ≤8.32 mM undissociated lactic acid. Growth rate was linearly related to hydrogen ion concentration in the absence of lactic acid. In the range 0 to 100 mM lactic acid, growth rate was also linearly related to undissociated lactic acid concentration. A mathematical model to describe these observations was developed based on a Belehradek-like model for the effects of water activity and temperature. This model was expanded to describe the effects of pH and lactic acid by the inclusion of novel terms for the inhibition due to the presence of hydrogen ions, undissociated lactic acid, and dissociated lactic acid species. Preliminary data obtained for 200 and 500 mM total lactic acid concentrations show that the response to very high lactic acid concentrations was less well described by the model. However, for 0 to 100 mM lactic acid, the model described well the qualitative and quantitative features of the response.