In Lactococcus lactis subsp. cremoris FD1, galactose and lactose are both transported and phosphorylated by phosphotransferase systems. Lactose 6-phosphate (lactose-6P) is hydrolyzed intracellularly to galactose-6P and glucose. Glucose enters glycolysis as glucose-6P, whereas galactose-6P is metabolized via the tagatose-6P pathway and enters glycolysis at the tagatose diphosphate and fructose diphosphate pool. Galactose would therefore be a gluconeogenic sugar in L. lactis subsp. cremoris FD1, but since fructose 1,6-diphosphatase is not present in this strain, galactose cannot serve as an essential biomass precursor (glucose-6P or fructose-6P) but only as an energy (ATP) source. Analysis of the growth energetics shows that transition from N limitation to limitation by glucose-6P or fructose-6P gives rise to a very high growth-related ATP consumption (152 mmol of ATP per g of biomass) compared with the value in cultures which are not limited by glucose-6P or fructose-6P (15 to 50 mmol of ATP per g of biomass). During lactose metabolism, the galactose flux through the tagatose-6P pathway (rmax = 1.2 h-1) is lower than the glucose flux through glycolysis (rmax = 1.5 h-1) and intracellular galactose-6P is dephosphorylated; this is followed by expulsion of galactose. Expulsion of a metabolizable sugar has not been reported previously, and the specific rate of galactose expulsion is up to 0.61 g of galactose g of biomass -1 h-1 depending on the lactose flux and the metabolic state of the bacteria. Galactose excreted during batch fermentation on lactose is reabsorbed and metabolized when lactose is depleted from the medium. In vitro incubation of galactose-6P (50 mM) and permeabilized cells (8 g/liter) gives a supernatant containing free galactose (50 mM) but no Pi (less than 0.5 mM). No organic compound except the liberated galactose is present in sufficient concentration to bind the phosphate. Phosphate is quantitatively recovered in the supernatant as Pi by hydrolysis with alkaline phosphatase (EC 22.214.171.124), whereas inorganic pyrophosphatase (EC 126.96.36.199) cannot hydrolyze the compound. The results indicate that the unknown phosphate-containing compound might be polyphosphate
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