Domestication of Industrial Microbes.
Curr Biol. 2019 May 20;29(10):R381-R393
Authors: Steensels J, Gallone B, Voordeckers K, Verstrepen KJ
Domestication refers to artificial selection and breeding of wild species to obtain cultivated variants that thrive in man-made niches and meet human or industrial requirements. Several genotypic and phenotypic signatures of domestication have been described in crops, livestock and pets. However, domestication is not unique to plants and animals. Microbial diversity has also been shaped by the emergence of novel and highly specific man-made environments, like food and beverage fermentations. This allowed rapid adaptation and diversification of various microbes, such as certain Lactococcus, Lactobacillus, Oenococcus, Saccharomyces and Aspergillus species. During the domestication process, microbes gained the capacity to efficiently consume particular nutrients, cope with a multitude of industry-specific stress factors and produce desirable compounds, often at the cost of a reduction in fitness in their original, natural environments. Moreover, different lineages of the same species adapted to highly diverse niches, resulting in genetically and phenotypically distinct strains. In this Review, we discuss the basic principles of microbial domestication and describe how recent research is uncovering its genetic underpinnings.
PMID: 31112692 [PubMed – in process]