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Trends Microbiol. 1999 Mar;7(3):129-33.

The ecological role of bacteriocins in bacterial competition.

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  • 1Dept of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06511, USA.


Bacteriocins are an abundant class of antimicrobial molecules that appear to mediate population dynamics within species. The bacteriocins of Escherichia coli have served as a model for exploring the ecological role of these potent toxins. Studies suggest that colicins provide a competitive edge in nutrient-poor environments and that there might be a trade-off between the costs and benefits of colicin production.

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