The possible physiological role of mitochondria in anaerobically grown was investigated via enzyme localization and inhibitor studies. Almost all of the activity of citrate synthase (EC was recovered in the mitochondrial fraction after differential centrifugation of spheroplast lysates. The enzyme exhibited a high degree of latency which was demonstrated by sonication of the mitochondrial fractions. Since citrate synthase is an important enzyme in anabolic reactions, a consequence of this localization is the requirement for transport of metabolites across the mitochondrial membranes. Such transport is likely to require energy which, as a result of anaerobiosis, cannot be supplied by respiration. It was therefore investigated whether ATP translocation into the mitochondria by an ADP/ATP translocase might be involved in anaerobic mitochondrial energy metabolism. It was shown that addition of the ADP/ATP translocase inhibitor bongkrekic acid to anaerobic cultures indeed inhibited growth, although only partially. It is concluded that mitochondria of fulfil a vital role in anaerobic sugar metabolism.


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