Bacterial spores in food: how phenotypic variability complicates prediction of spore properties and bacterial behavior
Bacillus spores are a known cause of food spoilage and their increased resistance poses a major challenge in efficient elimination. Recent studies on bacterial cultures at the single cell level have revealed how minor differences in essential spore properties, such as core water content or germinant receptor levels, can cause the observed differences in spore germination and outgrowth behavior. Moreover, heterogeneous behavior is influenced by commonly accepted food preservation techniques, such as heating or the usage of weak organic acids. Understanding the underlying molecular mechanisms and key players involved in phenotypic heterogeneity of spores, while taking the spore's history into account, will improve predictability of the spore's behavior to various treatments and triggers.
Journal: Current Opinion in Biotechnology - Volume 22, Issue 2, April 2011, Pages 180–186