SUMMARY: Electrophoresis patterns of soluble protein of 34 strains and esterases of 113 strains of lactic acid bacteria were determined. Similar protein patterns were obtained for the three species of lactic acid streptococci; with the lactobacilli most species gave constant species-specific patterns, but and strains differed markedly among themselves. Esterase patterns of lactic streptococci were generally species specific. Among the lactobacilli the thermobacteria had weak esterase activity which was only species specific for and ; in the streptobacteria, had a very consistent esterase pattern, whereas had very different patterns within the species; the unclassified strains were different from each other; in the betabacteria activity was weak and no consistent pattern of bands occurred. Leuconostocs grouped in patterns corresponding to their physiological groups. Esterases of a streptococcus and a lactobacillus examined were classified as ali esterases. When ten strains of lactic acid bacteria were tested for substrate specificity, nine of them had a higher activity against α-naphthyl acetate than against the butyrate and caprylate. A rapid test for esterase activity of whole organisms is described.


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