Foodborne bacterial pathogens encounter many environmental insults or stresses during food production, processing, storage, distribution, and preparation. However, these pathogens can sense changes in their surroundings and can respond by altering gene expression. A protective response may follow that increases tolerance to one or more stresses. This phenomenon is referred to as stress adaptation and has been shown to aid in the survival of pathogens in food products and in the food processing environment. Furthermore, stress adaptation may alter the virulence properties of pathogens and can contribute to survival in vivo during infection. Elucidating the molecular mechanisms underlying stress adaptation in bacterial food pathogens is essential for the development and implementation of more effective control measures and will permit the design of optimal processing regimes that combine maximum safety with consumer demands for more fresh-like, minimally processed foods.


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