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Functions and emerging applications of bacteriocins

Chikindas, Michael L, Weeks, Richard, Drider, Djamel, Chistyakov, Vladimir A, Dicks, Leon MT
Current opinion in biotechnology 2018 v.49 pp. 23-28
Gram-negative bacteria, antibiotics, antimicrobial peptides, bacteriocins, fermentation, food preservatives, genetics, human health, lactic acid bacteria, nanotechnology, neoplasms, quorum sensing, starter cultures
Bacteriocins, defined as ribosomally synthesized antimicrobial peptides, have traditionally been used as food preservatives, either added or produced by starter cultures during fermentation. In-depth studies of a select few bacteriocins opened exiting new research fields and broadened the application of these antimicrobial peptides. The possibility of developing bacteriocins into next generation antibiotics, accompanied with the rapid development in genetics and nanotechnology, paves the way to even more fascinating applications such as novel carrier molecules (delivery systems) and the treatment of cancer. Also, some bacteriocins are found to regulate quorum sensing which suggests novel applications for this group of substances. While there is some interesting translational research on bacteriocins from Gram-negative bacteria, the majority of application-oriented studies are focused on bacteriocins from Gram-positive microorganisms, mostly lactic acid bacteria. The applications of bacteriocins are expanding from food to human health.