In this issue, we are proud to include a major review on the bacterium Enterococcus
and food, from a leading German research group headed by Professor Wilhelm Holtzapfel. Why do I consider this paper so important? The genus Enterococcus contains species which are common inhabitants of faeces. Entereococcus faecium
and E. faecalis
are ubiquitous organisms and are usually considered to be pathogens and may cause a variety of human infections. They are also resistant to many antibiotics, and, importantly, hospital strains have been isolated which are even resistant to vancomycin (often considered to be one of the "last resort"antibiotics). Thus, some enterococcal strains are quite dangerous, particularly in the hospital situation. But this is not the case for all strains: some are prevalent during silage making, and indeed their metabolic abilities to utilise glucose differently in the presence and absence of malic acid and citric acid have made good subjects for research. Part of my own PhD studies in Edinburgh many years ago included such work.