1. Free lactic acid production under acidic conditions by lactic acid bacteria strains: challenges and future prospects
Mamata Singhvi, Takeshi Zendo, Kenji Sonomoto Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 2018 Jul;102(14):5911-5924. doi: 10.1007/s00253-018-9092-4. Epub 2018 May 26.
Lactic acid (LA) is an important platform chemical due to its significant applications in various fields and its use as a monomer for the production of biodegradable poly(lactic acid) (PLA). Free LA production is required to get rid of CaSO4, a waste material produced during fermentation at neutral pH which will lead to easy purification of LA required for the production of biodegradable PLA. Additionally, there is no need to use corrosive acids to release free LA from the calcium lactate produced during neutral fermentation. To date, several attempts have been made to improve the acid tolerance of lactic acid bacteria (LAB) by using both genome-shuffling approaches and rational design based on known mechanisms of LA tolerance and gene deletion in yeast strains. However, the lack of knowledge and the complexity of acid-tolerance mechanisms have made it challenging to generate LA-tolerant strains by simply modifying few target genes. Currently, adaptive evolution has proven an efficient strategy to improve the LA tolerance of individual/engineered strains. The main objectives of this article are to summarize the conventional biotechnological LA fermentation processes to date, assess their overall economic and environmental cost, and to introduce modern LA fermentation strategies for free LA production. In this review, we provide a broad overview of free LA fermentation processes using robust LAB that can ferment in acidic environments, the obstacles to these processes and their possible solutions, and the impact on future development of free LA fermentation processes commercially.
2. Acidity characterization of heterogeneous catalysts by solid-state NMR spectroscopy using probe molecules
Anmin Zheng, Shang-Bin Liu, Feng Deng Solid State Nucl Magn Reson. 2013 Oct-Nov;55-56:12-27. doi: 10.1016/j.ssnmr.2013.09.001. Epub 2013 Sep 20.
Characterization of the surface acidic properties of solid acid catalysts is a key issue in heterogeneous catalysis. Important acid features of solid acids, such as their type (Brønsted vs. Lewis acid), distribution and accessibility (internal vs. external sites), concentration (amount), and strength of acid sites are crucial factors dictating their reactivity and selectivity. This short review provides information on different solid-state NMR techniques used for acidity characterization of solid acid catalysts. In particular, different approaches using probe molecules containing a specific nucleus of interest, such as pyridine-d5, 2-(13)C-acetone, trimethylphosphine, and trimethylphosphine oxide, are compared. Incorporation of valuable information (such as the adsorption structure, deprotonation energy, and NMR parameters) from density functional theory (DFT) calculations can yield explicit correlations between the chemical shift of adsorbed probe molecules and the intrinsic acid strength of solid acids. Methods that combine experimental NMR data with DFT calculations can therefore provide both qualitative and quantitative information on acid sites.
3. The Stephan Curve revisited
William H Bowen Odontology. 2013 Jan;101(1):2-8. doi: 10.1007/s10266-012-0092-z. Epub 2012 Dec 6.
The Stephan Curve has played a dominant role in caries research over the past several decades. What is so remarkable about the Stephan Curve is the plethora of interactions it illustrates and yet acid production remains the dominant focus. Using sophisticated technology, it is possible to measure pH changes in plaque; however, these observations may carry a false sense of accuracy. Recent observations have shown that there may be multiple pH values within the plaque matrix, thus emphasizing the importance of the milieu within which acid is formed. Although acid production is indeed the immediate proximate cause of tooth dissolution, the influence of alkali production within plaque has received relative scant attention. Excessive reliance on Stephan Curve leads to describing foods as "safe" if they do not lower the pH below the so-called "critical pH" at which point it is postulated enamel dissolves. Acid production is just one of many biological processes that occur within plaque when exposed to sugar. Exploration of methods to enhance alkali production could produce rich research dividends.