Bacterial Interactions

Almost all groups of microorganisms harbour members that under some conditions can contribute to spoilage of foods. Theoretically, one can assume that all microorganisms are initially present on a food pro-duct where after a selection occurs based primarily on nutrient composition and on the chemical and physical parameters. The interactions between microorganisms may be classified on the basis of their effects as being detrimental or beneficial. Several types of interactions have been studied in food eco-systems including both antagonistic and coordinated behaviour and interactions where growth or a particular metabolism of one organism is favoured by the growth of another organism. Below are three examples of such behaviour:

  1. Antagonism: is caused by the competition for iron as mediated by bacterial siderophore production and subsequent suppression of maximum cell density of less competitive bacteria
  2. Metabiosis: Change in spoilage profile of an organism by the supply of nutrients from another microorganism
  3. The ability of Gram-negative bacteria to coordinate the expression of certain phenotypic traits (e.g.hydrolytic enzymes) through bacterial communication via N -acyl homoserine lactones (AHLs).


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