Last updated on: 10.03.2021

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Bacteriocins are ribosomally synthesized, proteinaceous substances of bacteria that inhibit the growth of closely related bacterial species by numerous mechanisms (Ołdak A et al. 2017). The synthesis of bacteriocins is encoded by extrachromosomal hereditary carriers (plasmids). These antimicrobial proteins may also meet consumer demands for the most natural ingredients possible in food preservation.

General information
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The spectrum of action of bacteriocins can be extremely narrow, so that only a few strains of the same species are inhibited. On the other hand, there are bacteriocins such as nisin that are effective against many Gram-positive bacteria. Besides nisin, which has been known for a long time, > hundred bacteriocins from all genera of lactic acid bacteria have been described in the meantime (see figure).

Furthermore, among the lactic acid bacteria there is a larger number of bacteriocins which, in addition to lactic acid bacteria, can also very effectively suppress pathogenic Gram-positive bacteria occurring in foodstuffs such as Listeria monocytogenes, Bacillus cereus, Staphylococcus aureus or Clostridium botulinum. This antagonistic potential is attempted to be applied in the preservation of certain foods.

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  1. Alvarez-Sieiro P et al. (2016) Bacteriocins of lactic acid bacteria: extending the family. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 100:2939-2951.
  2. Laemmli, U. K.. (1970) Cleavage of structural proteins during the assembly of the head of bacteriophage T4, Nature 227: 680-685.
  3. Mokoena MP (2017) Lactic Acid Bacteria and Their Bacteriocins: Classification, Biosynthesis and Applications against Uropathogens: A Mini-Review. Molecules 22:1255.
  4. Ołdak A et al. (2017) Bacteriocins from lactic acid bacteria as an alternative to antibiotics. Postepy Hig Med Dosw (Online) 71: 328-338.

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Last updated on: 10.03.2021