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Front. Microbiol. | doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2018.03163

Superdormant spores as a hurdle for gentle germination-inactivation based spore control strategies

  • 1ETH Zürich, Switzerland

Bacterial spore control strategies based on the germination-inactivation principle can lower the thermal load needed to inactivate bacterial spores and thus preserve food quality better. However, the success of this strategy highly depends on the germination of spores, and a subpopulation of spores that fail to germinate or germinate extremely slowly hinders the application of this strategy. This subpopulation of spores is termed ‘superdormant (SD) spores’. Depending on the source of the germination stimulus, SD spores are categorized as nutrient-SD spores, Ca2+-dipicolinic acid SD spores, dodecylamine-SD spores, and high pressure SD spores. In recent decades, research has been done to isolate these different groups of SD spores and unravel the cause of their germination deficiency as well as their germination capacities. This review summarizes the challenges caused by SD spores, their isolation and characterization, the underlying mechanisms of their germination deficiency, and the future research directions needed to tackle this topic in further depth.

Keywords: Bacterial spore, superdormant, Germination, Inactivation, Isolation, characterization, Mechanism, gentle spore control, toxin

Received: 28 Sep 2018; Accepted: 06 Dec 2018.

Edited by:

Michael Gänzle, University of Alberta, Canada

Reviewed by:

Peter Setlow, University of Connecticut Health Center, United States
Christopher Doona, Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, United States  

Copyright: © 2018 Zhang and Mathys. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Alexander Mathys, ETH Zürich, Zurich, Switzerland,