Friends of friendly bacteria

The proceedings of the 10th Symposium on Lactic Acid Bacteria (LAB10) are published today in Microbial Cell Factories. The LAB10 Symposium brings together experts, every three years, to share scientific knowledge of Lactobacilli. These bacteria share an intimate history with humans, having been ever-present in our food and forming part of our normal gut microbiota. Dubbed “friendly” and “good” by advertizers, Lactobacilli are natural candidates for industrial and medical use.

Guest edited by Colin Hill, Michiel Kleerebezem and Jan Kok, the proceedings include fundamental molecular biology, physiology and genomic studies of Lactobacilli. For example, O’ Donnell and colleagues show that the metabolism of different L. ruminis strains (found in the gut of cows, pigs and humans) is made flexible by variation in carbohydrate utilization genes. Lactobacilli are perhaps best known within the food industry and  Vogel and colleagues investigate the mechanism of evolution of L. sanfranciscensis that allows it to predominate in sourdough bread. Since many species are already established as food grade bacteria, they also present safe vectors for medical use such as the delivery of therapeutic proteins and DNA vaccines.

It is clear from these collected works that diverse research into lactic acid bacteria is booming. Microbial Cell Factories would like to wish the LAB collaboration many congratulations on their 10th Symposium and we are excited to see what the next meetings will bring.

Helen Whitaker

Journal Development Manager at BioMed Central
Helen is part of the Biological Sciences publishing team at BioMed Central. She obtained her PhD in molecular ecology from the University of Glasgow, UK. Her post-doctoral studies in aquaculture genetics took her from Scotland to South Africa, before joining BMC in 2008.

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