Chemical and biological understanding of fluorine in its many forms has lagged behind that of the other halogens, but studies on fluorine have recently come to the forefront. Thousands of commercial fluorine-containing materials are now found throughout the fabric of society, prompting new concerns regarding their health and environmental impacts. The utility and fate of many fluorine-containing products are inextricably linked to microbial responses to the element in its various forms. In this issue, the paper by Calero et al. (2022) provides new insights into the response of the model soil bacterium Pseudomonas putida KT2440 to fluoride anion. The study takes a broad approach to paint a picture of how fluoride impacts the bacterium and the microorganism’s physiological reaction. Methods employed include fluoride toxicity assays, Tn-Seq, genetic knockouts, fluorescent sensing of fluoride intracellularly and metabolomics. Clearly, microbes like P. putida KT2440 have evolved multiple mechanisms to protect themselves from toxic fluoride anion.
*Full-text study online at https://sfamjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1462-2920.16114