Spore-forming probiotic bacteria have received a wide and constantly increasing scientific and commercial interest. Among them, Bacillus species are the most studied and well-characterized Gram-positive bacteria. The use of bacilli as probiotic products is expanding especially rapidly due to their inherent ability to form endospores with unique survivability and tolerance to extreme environments and to produce a large number of valuable metabolites coupled with their bio-therapeutic potential demonstrating immune stimulation, antimicrobial activities and competitive exclusion. Ease of Bacillus spp. production and stability during processing and storage make them a suitable candidate for commercial manufacture of novel foods or dietary supplements for human and animal feeds for livestock, especially in the poultry and aquaculture industries. Therefore, the development of low-cost and competitive technologies for the production of spore-forming probiotic bacteria through understanding physiological peculiarities and mechanisms determining the growth and spore production by Bacillus spp. became necessary. This review summarizes the recent literature and our own data on the physiology of bacilli growth and spore production in the submerged and solid-state fermentation conditions, focusing on the common characteristics and unique properties of individual bacteria as well as on several approaches providing enhanced spore formation.
Keywords: Bacillus spp.; Cellulase; Cultivation conditions; Lignocellulose fermentation; Probiotics; Spore production.