Microbial responses to acidic and alkaline pH are important in many areas of bacteriology. In the medical sphere, the mechanisms of resistance to acidic pH are important in the understanding of the passage of human pathogens through the acid of the stomach. In agricultural science, soil acidification from natural, industrial and agricultural causes is posing problems for the nodulation of legumes, affecting crop and pasture productivity and soil fertility. On the alkaline side, microbial degradation of alkaline industrial wastes is environmentally important and demands an understanding of microbial resistance to these hostile conditions. Understanding of and comparisons between the mechanisms of tolerance in such situations brings out unifying concepts for and important differences between bacterial tolerance, adaptation and response to extremes of pH.
This meeting will bring together contributions from an international and interdisciplinary group of experts working on many aspects of bacterial cellular responses to pH. It will draw together much new and innovative work in this area, serving to delineate both similarities and differences between mechanisms of tolerance and response.
This meeting will also contain both general reviews of the strategies that bacteria have evolved in response to adverse pH and to control bacterial pH homeostasis, and also specific mechanistic presentations on tolerance, adaptation, gene expression and ion pumping.
Dr Gail Cardew
Editor, The Novartis Foundation
22 April 1998