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Received April 22, 2009; Revision received June 10, 2009
In previous studies we demonstrated increased amounts of phenylcarboxylic acids (PCA) in serum of patients with sepsis. This observation prompted the present study of the ability of the human microbiome bacteria to produce PCA in vitro. PCA were detected in culture media by gas chromatography–mass spectrometry. Increased amounts of phenyllactic and p-hydroxyphenyllactic acids were produced by Klebsiella pneumonia, Escherichia coli, and Staphylococcus aureus. Certain strict anaerobes (bifidobacteria, lactobacteria, eubacteria) have also been found to actively produce these PCA, but these bacteria are not etiologically linked to sepsis. Thus our results demonstrate the ability of sepsis-related bacteria to produce PCA and provide experimental support for the theory that the accumulation of PCA in the blood of patients with sepsis results from microbial degradation of phenylalanine and tyrosine.
KEY WORDS: phenylcarboxylic acids, phenyllactic acid, p-hydroxyphenyllactic acid, endogenous microflora, facultative and strict anaerobes, sepsis, gas chromatography–mass spectrometry