Part of Thermo Fisher Scientific
24 November 2011
The latest edition of our microbiology journal, Culture. Volume 32, No. 2 focuses on two microbiological phenomena that have important impacts on human health and industry: the formation of multispecies biofilms and the production of mycotoxins in foods.
A team from the University of Michigan, USA, likens the interactions between bacteria in a multispecies biofilm community to a dance in the first article, ‘Does it take two to tango? – the importance of coaggregation in multispecies biofilms’. Coaggregation, the specific recognition and subsequent attachment of different bacterial species to each other, is described along with its potential importance in the development of biofilms.
Biofilms are significant because the bacteria within these communities can be up to 1000-times more resistant to antimicrobials. As a result, they have been known to cause many persistent infections, such as periodontal disease, and contribute to environmental changes, such as the corrosion of water pipes. The authors suggest that improved understanding of the interspecies interactions that occur during coaggregation will contribute to the development of novel approaches to control multispecies biofilms.
In the second article, “Food, Fungi and Mycotoxins – an Update,” Ailsa Hocking and John Pitt from Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization), remind readers of the impact that fungal spoilage has on world food supplies. In particular, they discuss concerns over mycotoxin production and consequent health effects to consumers.
Mycotoxins are known for their carcinogenic and immunosuppressive activity. While they contribute to underlying health issues in developed countries, they are of even greater concern in the developing world, where severe environmental conditions, such as drought, increase the threat of mycotoxins to human health. The authors describe the occurrence, toxicity and control of the most commonly known mycotoxins and call for improved strategies to reduce fungal contamination during the growth and production of foods.