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Journal of Toxicology
Volume 2013, Article ID 372986, 6 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/372986
Research Article

Metabolic Effects of Sucralose on Environmental Bacteria

Department of Biology, University of North Florida, Jacksonville, FL 32224, USA

Received 12 September 2013; Revised 10 November 2013; Accepted 10 November 2013

Academic Editor: Steven J. Bursian

Copyright © 2013 Arthur Omran et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Sucralose was developed as a low cost artificial sweetener that is nonmetabolizable in humans. Sucralose can withstand changes in pH and temperature and is not degraded by the wastewater treatment process. Since the molecule can withstand heat, acidification, and microbial degradation, it is accumulating in the environment and has been found in wastewater, estuaries, rivers, and the Gulf Stream. Environmental isolates were cultured in the presence of sucralose looking for potential sucralose metabolism or growth acceleration responses. Sucralose was found to be nonnutritive and demonstrated bacteriostatic effects on all six isolates. This growth inhibition was directly proportional to the concentration of sucralose exposure, and the amount of the growth inhibition appeared to be species-specific. The bacteriostatic effect may be due to a decrease in sucrose uptake by bacteria exposed to sucralose. We have determined that sucralose inhibits invertase and sucrose permease. These enzymes cannot catalyze hydrolysis or be effective in transmembrane transport of the sugar substitute. Current environmental concentrations should not have much of an effect on environmental bacteria since the bacteriostatic effect seems to be consecration based; however, as sucralose accumulates in the environment, we must consider it a contaminant, especially for microenvironments.