Future Challenges in Lactic Acid Bacteria Stress Physiology Research

Part of the Food Microbiology and Food Safety book series (FMFS)


Over the past few decades, the stress physiology of lactic acid bacteria (LAB) has been a field of rigorous research. The economic importance of starter and probiotic LAB and, in some instances, the severe pathogenic nature of certain LAB species have been the key reasons fueling stress research in this group of bacteria. The field has greatly benefited from recent advances in sequencing technologies, bioinformatics, functional genomics, and proteomics/metabolomics. In the preceding parts of this book, the state of the art of the stress physiology of LAB has been presented. In this concluding chapter, we will attempt to summarize the most important areas that could be the focus of research in the field and that we consider will significantly improve our understanding of stress behavior in LAB. Stressful conditions can have a profound effect on cell proliferation, and in many cases they induce deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) damage. However, almost nothing is known about how LAB regulate cell cycle progression, monitor genome integrity, and repair DNA damage. Stress-induced mutagenesis is an established stress response in several bacteria and other organisms, but the overall phenomenon and its importance have been very rarely investigated in LAB. Despite the work that has been done on two-component systems, our understanding of how LAB sense and signal stress is still rather basic. Sensing mechanisms and signal transduction pathways are important targets for manipulating the robustness of LAB. Advances in single-cell technologies may also allow us to better assess the role of intrapopulation diversity that has already been shown to exist within stressed LAB cells. Another topic that appeared in the literature only recently is the stress imposed to LAB during growth in mixed cultures. Such research can shed light on how LAB overcome the fierce competition of other micro-organisms in the ecological niches they occupy. Finally, it will be critical to expand stress research to more LAB species and strains than those traditionally employed by researchers in the field to identify novel stress responses or to better appreciate mechanisms that are species- or even subspecies-dependent.


Lactic Acid Bacterium Lactic Acid Bacterium Strain Stress Sensor Streptococcus Agalactiae Lactic Acid Bacterium Species 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory of Dairy Research, Department of Food Science and TechnologyAgricultural University of AthensAthensGreece
  2. 2.Department of Molecular Genetics, Groningen Biomolecular Sciences and Biotechnology InstituteUniversity of GroningenGroningenThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Top Institute Food and NutritionWageningenThe Netherlands
  4. 4.The Netherlands Kluyver Centre for Genomics of Industrial Fermentations, NCSBDelftThe Netherlands

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