Bacteria in food production
Most bacteria are single-celled organisms which reproduce by simple division. There are three main forms: cocci are spherical, bacilli are rod-shaped, and spirilla are spirals. They live everywhere, from soil to water to within animals and plants, and are highly adapted to their environment – they are even found in volcanoes and radioactive waste.
Bacteria play an essential role in recycling nutrients, for example fixing nitrogen from the atmosphere into the soil. The human body contains vast numbers of bacteria, most of which are harmless or rendered so by the immune system, and some are vital in processes such as digestion.
Bacteria are commonly used in the production of variety of dairy products. Bacteria are used to make a wide range of food products. The most important bacteria in food manufacturing are Lactobacillus species, also referred to as lactic bacteria.