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International Journal of Microbiology
Volume 2014, Article ID 873081, 16 pages
Review Article

Response Mechanisms of Bacterial Degraders to Environmental Contaminants on the Level of Cell Walls and Cytoplasmic Membrane

1Department of Biochemical Technology, Faculty of Chemical and Food Technology, Institute of Biotechnology and Food Science, Slovak University of Technology, Radlinského 9, 812 37 Bratislava, Slovakia
2Water Research Institute, Nábrežie arm. gen. L. Svobodu 5, 812 49 Bratislava, Slovakia

Received 14 February 2014; Revised 12 May 2014; Accepted 27 May 2014; Published 26 June 2014

Academic Editor: Hugh W. Morgan

Copyright © 2014 Slavomíra Murínová and Katarína Dercová. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Bacterial strains living in the environment must cope with the toxic compounds originating from humans production. Surface bacterial structures, cell wall and cytoplasmic membrane, surround each bacterial cell and create selective barriers between the cell interior and the outside world. They are a first site of contact between the cell and toxic compounds. Organic pollutants are able to penetrate into cytoplasmic membrane and affect membrane physiological functions. Bacteria had to evolve adaptation mechanisms to counteract the damage originated from toxic contaminants and to prevent their accumulation in cell. This review deals with various adaptation mechanisms of bacterial cell concerning primarily the changes in cytoplasmic membrane and cell wall. Cell adaptation maintains the membrane fluidity status and ratio between bilayer/nonbilayer phospholipids as well as the efflux of toxic compounds, protein repair mechanisms, and degradation of contaminants. Low energy consumption of cell adaptation is required to provide other physiological functions. Bacteria able to survive in toxic environment could help us to clean contaminated areas when they are used in bioremediation technologies.