The Editors of Letters in Applied Microbiology will, at their discretion, publish invited and submitted ‘Opinions’ on subjects in the general area of Applied Microbiology. They will not be subjected to the normal refereeing procedures and reprints will not be provided. The ‘Opinions’ will not necessarily represent the views of the Society for Applied Bacteriology or of the Editors. The Editors may invite or readers may submit ‘Responses’ to published ‘Opinions’, provided that they are not merely polemics, and these will also be published at the discretion of the Editors. ‘Responses’ will be treated precisely like ‘Opinions’. They should clearly indicate, in their first sentence, the ‘Opinion’ to which they are a response.