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Biogenic amine production by the wine Lactobacillus brevis IOEB 9809 in systems that partially mimic the gastrointestinal tract stress

Pasquale Russo12, Pilar Fernández de Palencia1, Andrea Romano3, María Fernández4, Patrick Lucas3, Giuseppe Spano2 and Paloma López1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Molecular Microbiology and Infection Biology, Centro de Investigaciones Biológicas, C.S.I.C., Ramiro de Maeztu 9, Madrid 28040, Spain

2 Department of Agriculture, Food and Environment Sciences, University of Foggia, Via Napoli 25, Foggia, 71100, Italy

3 UMR Œnologie, INRA, ISVV, Université de Bordeaux, 210 chemin de Leysotte, CS50008, Villenave d’Ornon, 33882, France

4 Instituto de Productos Lácteos de Asturias, CSIC, Carretera de Infiesto s/n, Villaviciosa, Asturias, 33300, Spain

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BMC Microbiology 2012, 12:247  doi:10.1186/1471-2180-12-247

Published: 31 October 2012



Ingestion of fermented foods containing high levels of biogenic amines (BA) can be deleterious to human health. Less obvious is the threat posed by BA producing organisms contained within the food which, in principle, could form BA after ingestion even if the food product itself does not initially contain high BA levels. In this work we have investigated the production of tyramine and putrescine by Lactobacillus brevis IOEB 9809, of wine origin, under simulated gastrointestinal tract (GIT) conditions.


An in vitro model that simulates the normal physiological conditions in the human digestive tract, as well as Caco-2 epithelial human cell lines, was used to challenge L. brevis IOEB 9809, which produced both tyramine and putrescine under all conditions tested. In the presence of BA precursors and under mild gastric stress, a correlation between enhancement of bacterial survival and a synchronous transcriptional activation of the tyramine and putrescine biosynthetic pathways was detected. High levels of both BA were observed after exposure of the bacterium to Caco-2 cells.


L. brevis IOEB 9809 can produce tyramine and putrescine under simulated human digestive tract conditions. The results indicate that BA production may be a mechanism that increases bacterial survival under gastric stress.

Biogenic amines; Lactic acid bacteria; Putrescine; Tyramine; Food safety; Food toxicity