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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2021

Flow cytometric analysis reveals culture condition dependent variations in phenotypic heterogeneity of Limosilactobacillus reuteri

Rao, Nikhil Seshagiri; Lundberg, Ludwig; Palmkron, Shuai; Håkansson, Sebastian; Bergenståhl, Björn; Carlquist, Magnus


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 ftness during cultivation, and can be applied for online monitoring to avoid suboptimal growth. In the current study, the efects of temperature, initial pH and oxygen levels on cell growth and cell size distributions of Limosilactobacillus reuteri DSM 17938 were measured using multivariate fow 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 signifcant 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 ftness and responses to its environment.

Published in

Scientific Reports
2021, volume: 11, article number: 23567

Authors' information

Rao, Nikhil Seshagiri
Lund University
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Molecular Sciences
BioGaia AB
Palmkron, Shuai
Lund University
Håkansson, Sebastian
Lund University
Bergenståhl, Björn
Lund University
Carlquist, Magnus
Lund University

UKÄ Subject classification

Cell and Molecular Biology
Food Science

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