Lifestyle, metabolism and environmental adaptation in Lactococcus lactis

Michiel Kleerebezem, Herwig Bachmann, Eunice van Pelt-KleinJan, Sieze Douwenga, Eddy J. Smid, Bas Teusink, Oscar van Mastrigt

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Lactococcus lactis serves as a paradigm organism for the lactic acid bacteria (LAB). Extensive research into the molecular biology, metabolism and physiology of several model strains of this species has been fundamental for our understanding of the LAB. Genomic studies have provided new insights into the species L. lactis, including the resolution of the genetic basis of its subspecies division, as well as the control mechanisms involved in the fine-tuning of growth rate and energy metabolism. In addition, it has enabled novel approaches to study lactococcal lifestyle adaptations to the dairy application environment, including its adjustment to near-zero growth rates that are particularly relevant in the context of cheese ripening. This review highlights various insights in these areas and exemplifies the strength of combining experimental evolution with functional genomics and bacterial physiology research to expand our fundamental understanding of the L. lactis lifestyle under different environmental conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)804-820
Number of pages17
JournalFEMS Microbiology Reviews
Issue number6
Early online date29 Sept 2020
Publication statusPublished - 24 Nov 2020


  • Lactococcus lactis
  • adaptation
  • dairy application
  • environmental fitness
  • lactic acid bacteria
  • metabolism


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