Title

Plasmids of lactococci-genetic accessories or genetic necessities?

Document Type

Article

Disciplines

Biology

Publication Details

FEMS Microbiology Reviews

Abstract

Lactococci are one of the most exploited microorganisms used in the manufacture of food. These intensively used cultures are generally characterized by having a rich plasmid complement. It could be argued that it is the plasmid complement of commercially utilized cultures that gives them their technical superiority and individuality. Consequently, it is timely to reflect on the desirable characteristics encoded on lactococcal plasmids. It is argued that plasmids play a key role in the evolution of modern starter strains and are a lot more than just selfish replicosomes but more essential necessities of intensively used commercial starters. Moreover, the study of plasmid biology provides a genetic blueprint that has proved essential for the generation of molecular tools for the genetic improvement of Lactococcus lactis. © 2005 Federation of European Microbiological Societies.

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