Analytical Sciences

Abstract − Analytical Sciences, 32(10), 1047 (2016).

Direct Imaging of Carboxymethyl Cellulose-mediated Aggregation of Lactic Acid Bacteria Using Dark-field Microscopy
Hidenobu NAKAO,* Katsuichi SAITO,** Satoru TOMITA,** Yukio MAGARIYAMA,** Yoshihisa KAIZUKA,* and Yoshihiko TAKEDA*
*National Institute for Materials Science (NIMS), 1-1 Namiki, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-0044, Japan
**Food Research Institute, National Agriculture and Food Research Organization (NARO), Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-8642, Japan
The ecological functions of lactic acid bacteria (LAB) have been utilized in human life for food processing and probiotic therapy. Understanding the interaction mechanisms between LAB and food ingredients may help to clarify the fermentation process and physiological functions of LAB in the production of fermented foods made from plant materials and dairy products. However, the interaction mechanisms have yet to be fully clarified. Although laser diffraction was used for measuring the size changes of aggregates caused by the interaction between LAB and food ingredients, aggregate sizes could not be determined because of the precipitation of aggregates and its disruption from stirring. Therefore, a microscopy-based method for directly visualizing their interactions is required. We directly observed aggregation processes of LAB cells mediated by water-soluble polysaccharides, carboxymethyl cellulose (CMC), by dark-filed microscopy (DFM). DFM could visualize CMC-mediated cell aggregation with high contrast in real time, and revealed that the aggregates were formed by repeated collisions of LAB cells in a suspension. This suggests that our method can be used as a useful assay to directly visualize grain formation caused by interactions between LAB cells and various polysaccharides in food ingredients.