‘Antimicrobials’ as a term encompasses both chemical agents and physical systems, which are an essential part of our lives. In clinical, industrial, commercial and scientific situations, we strive to ensure the continued availability of efficient and safe antimicrobials. Over many years, Letters in Applied Microbiology has served as a platform for the publication of many novel and thought-provoking papers on this topic. This virtual edition aims at bringing together in one issue the very best of these papers from the last three years, showing the breadth of the papers on antimicrobials published in Letters in Applied Microbiology. The 20 papers offered here can be divided into the three areas of most contemporary interest in antimicrobials: (i) novel antimicrobials, (ii) resistance (and tolerance) towards antimicrobials and (iii) plant extracts as antimicrobials (of which the journal receives a remarkably high number of submissions). The process by which I selected these 20 papers was a combination of citation rate and just plain interest to me, for which I make no apologies.
Hence, in this issue, I offer papers published in LAM since August 2010, which were of interest to myself and therefore may be of interest to you. These papers fall roughly into the three categories I mention above, although it will be clear that they are not evenly balanced across the three. Most are ‘original articles’ (16), a few ‘under the microscope’ mini-reviews (3) and just one ‘notes to the editor’. Amongst the papers selected, some clusters of papers are worthy of special attention, including Zhou & Qi (2010), Delgado et al. (2011), Anas et al. (2012) and Low et al. (2013), all addressing aspects of nanotechnology antimicrobials. I also draw your attention to the papers by Whitehead & Cotta (2013), Gonçalves et al. (2013) and Mahanti et al. (2013), which all address the increasingly important area of environmental pools of antimicrobial resistance genes. I hope that by selecting these papers for special attention, I haven't implied that the remainder are less worthy of your attention. I think they are and that you will enjoy reading them.