Bacteriocins: developing innate immunity for food

Nat Rev Microbiol. 2005 Oct;3(10):777-88. doi: 10.1038/nrmicro1273.


Bacteriocins are bacterially produced antimicrobial peptides with narrow or broad host ranges. Many bacteriocins are produced by food-grade lactic acid bacteria, a phenomenon which offers food scientists the possibility of directing or preventing the development of specific bacterial species in food. This can be particularly useful in preservation or food safety applications, but also has implications for the development of desirable flora in fermented food. In this sense, bacteriocins can be used to confer a rudimentary form of innate immunity to foodstuffs, helping processors extend their control over the food flora long after manufacture.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Bacteriocins* / classification
  • Bacteriocins* / pharmacology
  • Bacteriolysis / physiology
  • Food Contamination / prevention & control*
  • Food Microbiology*
  • Food Preservation / methods*
  • Immunity, Innate*
  • Lactobacillus / physiology
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Nisin / pharmacology


  • Bacteriocins
  • Nisin