Response to environmental stress as a global phenomenon in biology: the example of microorganisms

Microbes Environ. 2008;23(1):20-3. doi: 10.1264/jsme2.23.20.


Any modification of the environment that leads to a physiological, genetic, or epigenetic adaptive response in microorganisms may be considered as a stress. Historically, forms of stresses affecting biological structures were classified either as non-thermal, such as osmotic, oxidative, or acid stress or as thermal stress, hot or cold. Currently, the classification in biology is as abiotic, including physical and chemical stress, or biotic. The aim of this mini-review is to show, through the example of microorganisms, that the response to stress can be considered, in biology, as a global phenomenon, which can be extended to anthropogenic pressure.