Open Access
Genetic tools for investigating the biology of commensal lactobacilli
Fang Fang1,Paul W O'Toole1
Department of Microbiology and Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland
DOI: 10.2741/3439 Volume 14 Issue 8, pp.3111-3127
Published: 01 January 2009
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetics and genomics of probiotic bacteria)

Lactobacilli belong to the genus Lactobacillus, the largest genus among the lactic acid bacteria (LAB). They are abundant in plant material and food resources, or they may inhabit niches in or on the bodies of humans and animals, as commensals. Lactobacilli of food origin are commercially important in the production of dairy products, fermented meats, vegetables, and sourdough, and many of their properties have been well studied. Commensal lactobacilli are good candidates for development as probiotics. In recent years, the general biology and host interaction mechanisms of commensal lactobacilli have attracted great interest. Although the metabolic pathways, predicted gene functions, and some phenotypic traits, of commensal lactobacilli can be inferred or deduced to an extent by the growing number of Lactobacillus genome sequencing project, various genetic tools are still required to confirm their phenotypic properties and biological traits. The current state of the art with respect to the available complement of genetic tools including genomic resources, and more traditional approaches to investigate the biology of commensal lactobacilli, will now be reviewed.

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Fang Fang, Paul W O'Toole. Genetic tools for investigating the biology of commensal lactobacilli. Frontiers in Bioscience-Landmark. 2009. 14(8); 3111-3127.