1887

Abstract

Certain reagents, such as ascorbate or iron salts and thiols, enhance the bacteriostatic action of nitrite on food-spoilage bacteria. This may be due to the formation of nitric oxide and iron-thiol-nitrosyl ([Fe-S-NO]) complexes. The minimum concentrations of these reagents required to inhibit growth of were investigated. A mixture of nitrite (0·72 m) with iron (1·44 m) and cysteine (2·16 m) was found to be extremely inhibitory when autoclaved and diluted into the culture medium. This mixture caused rapid cessation of growth and loss of cell viability at a final concentration corresponding to 40 µ-nitrite. If added to the initial culture medium, it prevented growth at 5 µ-nitrite. The mixture was more inhibitory, on the basis of the nitrite concentration used, than the ‘Perigo factor’, obtained by autoclaving nitrite in growth medium. [Fe-S-NO] compounds of known chemical structure were tested to determine if they were responsible for this effect. Total inhibition of cell growth was observed with the tetranuclear clusters [FeS(NO)] (Roussin’s black salt), [FeS(NO)] or [FeSe(NO)], added at concentrations equivalent to 10 µ-nitrite, or with [Fe(SMe)(NO)] (methyl ester of Roussin's red salt), equivalent to 200 µ-nitrite. The rate of hydrogen production in growing cell cultures was inhibited by [FeS(NO)] at levels equivalent to 2·5 µ-nitrite. EPR spectra of the inhibited cells showed features with -values of 2·03, characteristic of mononuclear iron-nitrosyl species, and, under non-reducing conditions, an unusual signal at = 1·65. There was no correlation between growth inhibition and the = 2·03 signal, though there was a better correlation between inhibition and the = 1·65 signal. The direct effects of the compounds were tested on the iron-sulphur proteins of the phosphoroclastic system, namely ferredoxin, pyruvate-ferredoxin oxidoreductase and hydrogenase. EPR spectra and enzyme assays showed that these proteins were not destroyed by [FeS(NO)], [FeS(NO)], [Fe(SMe)(NO)], [Fe(SPh)(NO)], or M2 (an autoclaved mixture of 66 m-cysteine, 3·6 m-FeSO and 0·72 m-NaNO) at concentrations higher than those that caused total inhibition of cell growth. Inhibition of cells by [Fe-S-NO] compounds is unlikely to be due to interaction with the preformed enzymes. The possible formation of iron-nitrosyl complexes , and their inhibitory actions, are discussed.

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1990-10-01
2021-08-01
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