Enterococcus is a genus of bacteria that belongs to the gram-positive cocci and naturally occurs in the microbiome of humans and animals. Some species within this genus play an important role in probiotic research and application. In particular, Enterococcus faecium (E. faecium) and Enterococcus faecalis (E. faecalis) are used in probiotic products. These bacteria are valued for their potential health benefits, but their use as probiotics is also critically viewed, as some strains can be pathogenic.

The significance of Enterococcus strains as probiotics lies in their potential positive impacts on intestinal health. They can help promote the balance of the microbiome and support digestion. Furthermore, they are attributed with immunomodulating properties that may strengthen the immune system and possibly contribute to the prevention of infections.

Despite these potential benefits, the use of Enterococcus as a probiotic is controversial. Some strains, particularly Enterococcus faecalis, are known to cause diseases in humans, especially in individuals with a weakened immune system. The resistance of some Enterococcus strains to antibiotics, particularly the emergence of vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE), is another reason for concern in the medical community.

Due to these potential risks, it is important that the use of Enterococcus strains in probiotics is carefully controlled. Selecting safe, non-pathogenic strains is crucial, and further research is needed to fully understand and validate the effectiveness and safety of these probiotics. Overall, the genus Enterococcus offers interesting approaches for probiotic research, necessitating careful consideration of risks and benefits.