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Microb Cell Fact. 2011 Aug 30;10 Suppl 1:S3. doi: 10.1186/1475-2859-10-S1-S3. Epub 2011 Aug 30.

Genomic diversity and versatility of Lactobacillus plantarum, a natural metabolic engineer.

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Kluyver Centre for Genomics of Industrial Fermentation, NIZO food research, P.O. Box 20, 6710 BA Ede, The Netherlands.


In the past decade it has become clear that the lactic acid bacterium Lactobacillus plantarum occupies a diverse range of environmental niches and has an enormous diversity in phenotypic properties, metabolic capacity and industrial applications. In this review, we describe how genome sequencing, comparative genome hybridization and comparative genomics has provided insight into the underlying genomic diversity and versatility of L. plantarum. One of the main features appears to be genomic life-style islands consisting of numerous functional gene cassettes, in particular for carbohydrates utilization, which can be acquired, shuffled, substituted or deleted in response to niche requirements. In this sense, L. plantarum can be considered a "natural metabolic engineer".

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