Indigenous oral bacteria in the tongue coating such as Veillonella have been identified as the main producers of hydrogen sulfide (H2S), one of the major components of oral malodor. However, there is little information on the physiological properties of H2S production by oral Veillonella such as metabolic activity and oral environmental factors which may affect H2S production. Thus, in the present study, the H2S-producing activity of growing cells, resting cells, and cell extracts of oral Veillonella species and the effects of oral environmental factors, including pH and lactate, were investigated. Type strains of Veillonella atypica, Veillonella dispar, and Veillonella parvula were used. These Veillonella species produced H2S during growth in the presence of L-cysteine. Resting cells of these bacteria produced H2S from L-cysteine, and the cell extracts showed enzymatic activity to convert L-cysteine to H2S. H2S production by resting cells was higher at pH 6 to 7 and lower at pH 5. The presence of lactate markedly increased H2S production by resting cells (4.5- to 23.7-fold), while lactate had no effect on enzymatic activity in cell extracts. In addition to H2S, ammonia was produced in cell extracts of all the strains, indicating that H2S was produced by the catalysis of cystathionine γ-lyase (EC 126.96.36.199). Serine was also produced in cell extracts of V. atypica and V. parvula, suggesting the involvement of cystathionine β-synthase lyase (EC 188.8.131.52) in these strains. This study indicates that Veillonella produce H2S from L-cysteine and that their H2S production can be regulated by oral environmental factors, namely, pH and lactate.
ASJC Scopus subject areas