Bacteria of the genus Pectinatus emerged during the seventies as contaminants and spoilage organisms in packaged beer. This genus comprises two species, Pectinatus cerevisiiphilus and Pectinatus frisingensis; both are strict anaerobes. On the basis of genomic properties the genus is placed among low GC Gram-positive bacteria (phylum Firmicutes, class Clostridia, order Clostridiales, family Acidaminococcaceae). Despite this assignment, Pectinatus bacteria possess an outer membrane and lipopolysaccharide (LPS) typical of Gram-negative bacteria. The present review compiles the structural and compositional studies performed on Pectinatus LPS. These lipopolysaccharides exhibit extensive heterogeneity, i.e. several macromolecularly and structurally distinct LPS molecules are produced by each strain. Whereas heterogeneity is a common property in lipopolysaccharides, Pectinatus LPS have been shown to contain exceptional carbohydrate structures, consisting of a fairly conserved core region that carries a large non-repetitive saccharide that probably replaces the O-specific chain. Such structures represent a novel architectural principle of the LPS molecule.
- Beer spoilage