Molecular Properties of Lactobacillus Bacteriocins

  • T. R. Klaenhammer
  • C. Ahn
  • C. Fremaux
  • K. Milton
Part of the NATO ASI Series book series (volume 65)


Among the members of lactic acid bacteria, the lactobacilli represent the most diverse genus. Individual species are ubiquitous in the environment while still occupying a multitude of specialized ecological niches. These include fermenting vegetables, meat, cereals, dairy products, and the intestinal tract of man and animals. Their metabolic capabilities and physiological characteristics are equally diverse and proper classification of many strains has occurred only recently following the development of more sophisticated biochemical and genomic classification systems. These bacteria derive their energy via either homo- or heterofermentative catabolism of carbohydrates in nutritionally complex environments. As the major end product of their metabolism, organic acids function directly as antagonists (Kashet, 1987) and lower the pH of the environment. Since lactobacilli are often more acid-tolerant than other competing bacteria, including other lactic acid bacteria, acidification of the environment promotes their ability to compete within and ultimately dominate fermenting ecosystems. In addition, the lactobacilli produce a variety of chemical and proteinaceous antimicrobials. These include hydrogen peroxide, various illcharacterized compounds (Vincent et al., 1959; Hamdan & Mikolajcik, 1974; Silva et al., 1987), antimicrobials (Talarico & Dobrogosz, 1989), and most notably, bacteriocins (Klaenhammer, 1988, 1990).


Lactic Acid Bacterium Lactobacillus Acidophilus Bacteriocin Production Lactobacillus Sake Peptide Bacteriocin 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • T. R. Klaenhammer
    • 1
  • C. Ahn
    • 1
  • C. Fremaux
    • 1
  • K. Milton
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Food Science Southeast Dairy Foods Research CenterNorth Carolina State UniversityRaleighUSA

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