Carbohydrate/citrate cometabolism in Lactococcus lactis results in the formation of the flavor compound acetoin. Resting cells of strain IL1403(pFL3) rapidly consumed citrate while producing acetoin when substoichiometric concentrations of glucose or l-lactate were present. A proton motive force was generated by electrogenic exchange of citrate and lactate catalyzed by the citrate transporter CitP and proton consumption in decarboxylation reactions in the pathway. In the absence of glucose or l-lactate, citrate consumption was biphasic. During the first phase, hardly any citrate was consumed. In the second phase, citrate was converted rapidly, but without the formation of acetoin. Instead, significant amounts of the intermediates pyruvate and α-acetolactate, and the end product acetate, were excreted from the cells. It is shown that the intermediates and acetate are excreted in exchange with the uptake of citrate catalyzed by CitP. The availability of exchangeable substrates in the cytoplasm determines both the rate of citrate consumption and the end product profile. It follows that citrate metabolism in L. lactis IL1403(pFL3) splits up in two routes after the formation of pyruvate, one the well-characterized route yielding acetoin and the other a new route yielding acetate. The flux distribution between the two branches changes from 85:15 in the presence of l-lactate to 30:70 in the presence of pyruvate. The proton motive force generated was greatest in the presence of l-lactate and zero in the presence of pyruvate, suggesting that the pathway to acetate does not generate proton motive force.