Capillary gas-liquid chromatography (g.l.c.) and g.l.c./mass spectrometry (g.l.c./m.s.) were used to study the fatty acid composition of the lipids of the following 23 species of proteolytic clostridia grown in a Trypticase/yeast extract medium: . These species contained a total of 55 fatty acids in the range C to C. The methyl esters were separated on a 152 m stainless steel capillary column coated with poly(1,4-butanediol succinate) and characterized by their equivalent chain lengths and by g.l.c./m.s. The predominant acids were -C and -C. There were two groups of organisms: those which contained fatty acids of the and series and those which contained only those of the series. All the organisms which contained and acids also oxidized valine, leucine and isoleucine to the corresponding branched-chain volatile fatty acids. The acids found had both even and odd numbers of carbon atoms and were probably derived from valine and leucine, respectively; the acids all had odd numbers of carbon atoms and were probably derived from isoleucine via 2-methylbutyric acid. These organisms also produced small amounts of monoenoic acids. Of the seven species which contained only acids of the series, produces acetic acid as its only end-product whereas the other six ferment glutamic acid and produce acetic and -butyric acids; they also form propionic acid from threonine.


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