Sensors 2009, 9(9), 7038-7057; doi:10.3390/s90907038
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Escherichia coli, an Intestinal Microorganism, as a Biosensor for Quantification of Amino Acid Bioavailability

Center for Food Safety-IFSE, and Departments of Food and Poultry Sciences, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR 72704, USA
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 2 June 2009; in revised form: 19 August 2009 / Accepted: 26 August 2009 / Published: 4 September 2009
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pathogen Sensors)
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Abstract: In animal diets optimal amino acid quantities and balance among amino acids is of great nutritional importance. Essential amino acid deficiencies have negative impacts on animal physiology, most often expressed in sub-optimal body weight gains. Over supplementation of diets with amino acids is costly and can increase the nitrogen emissions from animals. Although in vivo animal assays for quantification of amino acid bioavailability are well established, Escherichia coli-based bioassays are viable potential alternatives in terms of accuracy, cost, and time input. E. coli inhabits the gastrointestinal tract and although more abundant in colon, a relatively high titer of E. coli can also be isolated from the small intestine, where primary absorption of amino acids and peptides occur. After feed proteins are digested, liberated amino acids and small peptides are assimilated by both the small intestine and E. coli. The similar pattern of uptake is a necessary prerequisite to establish E. coli cells as accurate amino acid biosensors. In fact, amino acid transporters in both intestinal and E. coli cells are stereospecific, delivering only the respective biological L-forms. The presence of free amino- and carboxyl groups is critical for amino acid and dipeptide transport in both biological subjects. Di-, tri- and tetrapeptides can enter enterocytes; likewise only di-, tri- and tetrapeptides support E. coli growth. These similarities in addition to the well known bacterial genetics make E. coli an optimal bioassay microorganism for the assessment of nutritionally available amino acids in feeds.
Keywords: Escherichia coli; amino acid bioavailability; microbial biosensors; amino acid/peptide assimilation

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MDPI and ACS Style

Chalova, V.I.; Sirsat, S.A.; O’Bryan, C.A.; Crandall, P.G.; Ricke, S.C. Escherichia coli, an Intestinal Microorganism, as a Biosensor for Quantification of Amino Acid Bioavailability. Sensors 2009, 9, 7038-7057.

AMA Style

Chalova VI, Sirsat SA, O’Bryan CA, Crandall PG, Ricke SC. Escherichia coli, an Intestinal Microorganism, as a Biosensor for Quantification of Amino Acid Bioavailability. Sensors. 2009; 9(9):7038-7057.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Chalova, Vesela I.; Sirsat, Sujata A.; O’Bryan, Corliss A.; Crandall, Philip G.; Ricke, Steven C. 2009. "Escherichia coli, an Intestinal Microorganism, as a Biosensor for Quantification of Amino Acid Bioavailability." Sensors 9, no. 9: 7038-7057.

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