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Journal of Oral Microbiology


Rothia mucilaginosa has been found at high abundance on oral leukoplakia (OLK). The ability of clinical isolates to produce acetaldehyde (ACH) from ethanol has not been investigated. The objective of the current study was to determine the capacity of R. mucilaginosa isolates recovered from OLK to generate ACH. Analysis of R. mucilaginosa genomes (n = 70) shows that this species does not normally encode acetaldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH) required for detoxification of ACH. The predicted OLK metagenome also exhibited reduced ALDH coding capacity. We analysed ACH production in 8 isolates of R. mucilaginosa and showed that this species is capable of generating ACH in the presence of ethanol. The levels of ACH produced (mean = 53 µM) were comparable to those produced by Neisseria mucosa and Candida albicansin parallel assays. These levels were demonstrated to induce oxidative stress in cultured oral keratinocytes. This study shows that R. mucilaginosa can generate ACH from ethanol in vitro at levels which can induce oxidative stress. This organism likely contributes to oral ACH levels following alcohol consumption and the significance of the increased abundance of R. mucilaginosa in patients with potentially malignant disorders requires further investigation.


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