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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Intermediary carbohydrate and amino acid metabolism in clostridium perfringens type A Finch, Caroline Margaret


Clostridium perfringens was found to produce marked changes in its environment during growth. Decrease in electropotential, as well as decrease in pH, correlated with resumption of cellular activity on transfer into a defined medium. Eight amino acids were found to be essential for growth, while the remaining ten amino acids fell into four categories according to the degree of independence the organism had with respect to them. The form of the B-6 vitamin present in the medium had an important influence on the synthesis of several amino acids. The synthesis and degradation of amino acids was investigated further. The enzyme systems involved in these functions could be described as three major groups: those enzymes involved in synthesis of amino acids and amino compounds from glucose, the enzymes responsible for the interconversion of threonine, glycine and serine, and those involved with glutamic acid, proline and arginine metabolism. Uptake of amino acids by both resting and growing cell suspensions was found to be by an efficient, non-energy dependent diffusion mechanism. During growth approximately 5% of the exogenously supplied glucose was assimilated into cell material, primarily as cell wall or nucleic acid components. Molar growth yields from glucose were found to be significantly greater than the theoretical value. The calculated ratio of reduced to oxidized coenzymes indicated a characteristic trend over the logarithmic and stationary growth phases. The relationship between amino acid metabolism, glucose dissimilation and assimilation, and overall metabolite and energy balances has been discussed with a view to understanding the extent of control and influence C. perfringens has on its own metabolic functions and on its environment.

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