lactic acid bacteria
Strains of lactic acid bacteria (LAB) are commonly used in industrial fermentations for the production of food products such as cheeses, buttermilk, sauerkraut and yogurt. It has long been recognised that bacteriophages infecting LAB strains can cause serious problems in dairy fermentations, resulting in economic losses and therefore research has been focussed on elucidating the mechanisms by which these bacteriophages proliferate. In recent years, significant advances in molecular biological technologies has allowed researchers to gain an insight into the genetic processes underlying many steps in LAB bacteriophage lifecycles. The knowledge gained from this research has in turn, enabled the development of novel genetic tools utilising phage genes, promoters, and DNA fragments for use in LAB strains, which is the focus of this review. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.